Big Picture Blog Post


This blog post is an exploration into a chosen identity that I have been researching and interacting with since the start of winter term, as well as talking about some significant moments that I’ve had in this class over the last 10 weeks. The personal identity I chose to look at this term is firearm enthusiast/gun owner. In today’s day and age, our media, intentionally or unintentionally, misinforms the public in order to push their agendas. In this post, I will be examining multiple forms of media that portray gun ownership both positively, and intentionally negatively to show simply that this does not happen with every media artifact we look at. My intentions for this blog are not to sway you into becoming a gun owner, or change your views on laws and regulations on firearms. But to simply bring awareness to you that agenda setting and media framing are prevalent in our society, and that you should be aware of this when deciding on which research or articles you choose to put credibility in. Enjoy.


CNN Article

“4 Gun control steps U.S needs now”  is an article posted on CNN’s website containing 2 videos of democrats protesting current gun laws and participating in an occupancy.  This article is interesting because videos attached to have the majority of airtime given to single speakers who spoke of tragic unlawful killings which would devastate any viewer, and rightfully so. However, when watching some of the live social media broadcasts and videos of this same occupancy, found outside of the website, there are many speeches taking place which state outrageously ignorant comments displaying complete misunderstanding of our current gun laws and regulations. This article is a great example of how, on occasion, even our national media outlets can frame what they report to fit their chosen political agenda and influence the opinions of their viewers. In a video from an individual inside the room broadcasted to social media, you can hear a speaker talking about how we allow criminals to purchase machine guns. This is untrue, but due to the well known political background of CNN, they certainly wouldn’t broadcast this because it would go against their political agenda.

To purchase a machine gun in the United States you must do the following: first, find a machine gun for sale (much more challenging than you’d think); second, pay the dealer or individual who has it; three, fill out the ATF Form 4 in duplicate; four, attach small passport photos; five, complete two FBI fingerprint cards; six, fill out a check to cover the $200 transfer fee; seven, fill out a Certification of Compliance, sometimes called a Citizenship Form; eight, submit it to the NFA branch of the ATF and wait until the transfer is approved. Not only is the process extremely lengthy and very expensive, if you have any of the following crimes in your criminal history, you will be declined immediately: Fugitives from justice, Illegal aliens, Unlawful users of certain drugs, Those committed to a mental institution, Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (which generally covers felonies) and Those convicted of crimes of domestic violence.

American Sniper

Another media outlet that I looked at involving the portrayal of firearm enthusiasts is the movie American Sniper. American Sniper is a film about an American Navy S.E.A.L by the name Chris Kyle. It was directed by Clint Eastwood and had a purpose of bringing the heroic story of our country’s most lethal sniper. The main thing I took away from this film was the portrayal of Chris Kyle in an honorary form. This film is certainly set out to show the heroics Chris showed on the battlefields in his four tours to iraq, and I think does so respectfully. However, although commonly, and rightfully, referred to as a hero, there are certain groups who look at Chris Kyle’s legacy and the impact he made on protecting our Americans Citizens and put what he did in a negative light, with tags such as murderer placed on his name. Viewers can take whichever standpoint they’d like on the film and Chris Kyle’s portrayal within, but the general outcome of this film was a feeling of pride in our country as well as deep sorrow for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our country.

USA Today Article

“Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view”  is an article posted on USA by Robert Farago that speaks on the notion of gun control and speaks of ways that we can prevent gun violence without enforcing stricter gun control laws. This article is interesting because he points out the fact that enforcing stricter gun laws and regulations simply takes it away from law abiding citizens, and that gun regulations and laws will not affect criminals, felons or the mentally unstable. Take the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for example. Before the shooting even took place, the following laws were already broken: Assault with a deadly weapon, Committing A Felony With a Firearm, Possession of a stolen gun-4 counts (either state or federal charges), Unlawful carrying of a loaded pistol without a permit, unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, Underage adult in Possession of a loaded gun(4 counts), Criminal Trespass and Car Theft. The issue is not with the laws our country currently holds on our firearms, but the individuals themselves.

The author, Robert Farago, proposes an interesting notion which states that the only way we can stop killers from killing, is to put them in a place where they don’t have access to weapons or civilians. Which brings up the issue of mass incarceration and he speaks on that, but it’s not necessarily relevant. He goes on to say “As the French terrorist attacks proved, gun control doesn’t work. Worse, civilian disarmament leaves innocent people defenseless against killers. Gun control enables — rather than prevents — homicide.”(Farago, 2015)


Being a firearm enthusiast, I obviously believe that every legal citizen in the United States should exercise their right to bear arms with whatever weapon they see fit. I do, however, believe that we as a nation should have gun laws and restrictions on weapons due to prior criminal charges and history with mental instability and we are currently doing so. Further laws and restrictions would simply be hurting our lawful citizens and restricting their right as Americans to protect themselves and their families. I believe it’s important to look at gun laws when speaking about firearm enthusiasts and gun owners for the simple fact that it directly affects us. In my research in this topic, I have found that being a firearm enthusiast as well as an open gun owner comes with occasional scrutiny, and that on occasion, our popular culture outlets will skew their reports in a way that influences opposition to gun ownership. I also believe outlook on this identity is influenced by political party,  as are many identities in this day and age. I think the main thing we can all take away from researching our identities is that no matter what it is, be educated on that subject matter and be very weary and observant of the sources you trust to educate yourself with.  

Class Reflection:

I think the most significant lesson I’m taking away fromt this class is sort of what I just spoke of in my identity reflection. That is to be mindful of media outlets and the sources you choose to look at when researching or educating yourself on a topic. This class allowed for questioning of resource credibility and definitely help with overall awareness of the massive affects our media has on our lives.


Donohue, J. J. (2016, June 26) “4 Gun Control Steps U.S Needs Now” Retrieved


Eastwood, C. (Director). (n.d.). American Sniper [Video file].

Farago, R. (2015, Dec 2) “Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view”  Retrieved from:

To See or Not to See?: Transgender Representation in Popular Media

The issue of representation is not a simple one. When it comes to the representation of transgender people in media, it becomes quite clear that there is significant work to be done still. This blog post attempts to analyze the ways in which representation functions – how is it positive or negative, who is represented and who is in charge, etc.? “American brands, which tend to be conservative marketers, have slowly embraced gays and lesbians in their ads. Transgender men and women, however, have barely been given a voice” (Guynn). Through my research I have come to the conclusion that the media plays an integral role in the way the lives of transgender people are perceived and accepted. The media, in essence, is a tool through which transgender stories are legitimized and recognized. Thus, it becomes ever more important to examine the ways that transgender characters are portrayed.

I chose to take a close look at three primary sources of transgender media to create a base line for representation. The medium that I found most relevant (and popular) was film. If a transgender character exists, it is most often in a film.


Rocky Horror:



The first film I will discuss is “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. This movie was produced by Michael White Productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The target audience for this film was a niche crowd of misfits and it has since developed a cult following. It was originally released in Los Angeles in 1975. This film centers around a character deemed to be a transvestite and his creation of a creature intended for sexual purposes. The identity of this character can be assumed first through dress and presentation. Frank n furter is dressed in a corset, fishnets, high heels, and has a full face of makeup on. The makeup is done with dramatic flair to the point of almost looking like clown makeup. Shortly after his introduction, he sings a song about being a transvestite from Transylvania. This then confirms the identity of the character.


Frank n furter is portrayed as a highly sexual character. His creation, Rocky, was made for his own sexual benefit. He also is shown as sneaking into two separate rooms to attempt to trick and coerce both a male and female character into having sex with him. Frank n furter is also a violent character. He is shown to have murdered another character because his thunder was stolen. He also has a slew of oddball, treacherous followers that do his bidding.

The main points to address about this portrayal of a “transvestite” character are as follows: the character is portrayed by a cisgender man, the character is highly sexualized, the character is violent, and the character is overly dramatic. On transgender characters being portrayed by cisgender actors, Raquel Willis writes in her article “Hollywood, You’re Halfway There With Trans Representation” “it features, yet again — in a tried and true Hollywood custom — a cisgender man playing a transgender woman. Not only that, but we’re also seeing the trans narrative played out through a cisgender lens. It’s akin to how I feel when I continue to see narratives of color translated through how white people see the state of race and race relations. As a trans woman, I must admit that it continues to be disheartening to see certain portrayals of my community’s experiences in the hands of cisgender people. When I see yet another cis man in a trans woman role, à la Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, it continues to elucidate how society understands us. Or how — in short — they don’t. The acceptance of the “man in a dress” trope continues to persist despite more awareness and representation than ever before” (Willis). By doing this, it undermines the actual lived experience of transgender people (especially women) who have to undergo severe transformations in order to fit into societal expectations.




The second film I chose to analyze is “Tangerine”, a film directed by Sean Baker and produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The original audience was Sundance Film Festival, which is where it was first shown. This film was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. The plot is centered on two transgender sex workers and their adventures throughout LA. Transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella, who has just finished a 28-day prison sentence, meets her friend Alexandra, another trans sex worker, at a donut shop in Hollywood on Christmas Eve. Alexandra accidentally reveals that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend and pimp Chester has been cheating on her with a cisgender woman. Sin-Dee storms out to search the neighborhood for Chester and the woman. Both of the main characters are black transgender women who are played by transgender actresses.

The fact that this film centers around black, transgender sex workers is interesting in that it is taking an uncommon narrative and giving it a comedic twist. The statistics of transgender sex workers are especially high among the MTF (male to female) communities (particularly among transgender women of color). The fact that the narrative revolves around these women and their quest to right a lovers quarrel gives the director/writer an opportunity to share the lives of these women in a more accessible way to audiences. If an audience is able to laugh they will be more likely to listen to the narrative being discussed. Another detail is the focus on the immigrant and his life in America. The taxi driver is struggling to make ends meet in his multigenerational family. He is shown to frequent transgender sex workers exclusively. This brings up a side that is often not discussed. If transgender women are talked about in relation to sex work, they are often criminalized for their work. However, very rarely are the people who request sex work from these women talked about. In this film, the audience is actually given some scenes from the point of view of the client. He is given a backstory; a family, a career, a life. This film works to humanize both sides of the sex work industry and I find that to be a rare narrative.


Silence of the Lambs:


The final film I chose to analyze was “The Silence of the Lambs”, directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Strong Heart/Demme Production. It premiered in New York in 1991 and has since received critical acclaim.

The character Buffalo Bill is one of the main antagonists of this film. His character is portrayed as a bisexual, transsexual serial killer. Buffalo Bill is given numerous mental health problems. He is shown to be sexual and violent in nature. Hannibal Lecter, who worked with Buffalo Bill, makes the claim that Buffalo Bill is not in fact transgender, but is something altogether more “savage and terrifying”.

Buffalo Bill’s gender identity is handled in a number of very problematic ways. First, his character is a classic example of the killer transgender trope. Transgender women are often represented as psychotic killers as a lazy method of responding to mainstream society’s fear of gender nonconforming people. This popular trope in film reinforces the idea that being transgender is unnatural and perverted, and pathologizes gender fluidity. In addition to crazed killers, Silence of the Lambs portrays transgender women as imposters. After analyzing the Buffalo Bill case files, Hannibal Lecter famously says, “Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual, but his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.” This quote enforces the idea that other people can determine a person’s gender identity.


A Deeper Look:

So, what does this all mean? To piece together this information, I turned to an article written by GLAAD put together a review on all transgender inclusive television episodes over the past ten years. From this, they came to the conclusion that there is still much work to be done in order to achieve fair and accurate depictions of the transgender community. Since 2002, GLAAD catalogued 102 episodes and non-recurring storylines of scripted television that contained transgender characters, and found that 54% of those were categorized as containing negative representations at the time of their airing. Transgender characters were cast in a “victim” role at least 40% of the time. Transgender characters were cast as killers or villains in at least 21% of the catalogued episodes and storylines. Anti-transgender slurs, language and dialogue were present in at least 61% of the catalogued episodes and storylines ( By encouraging and allowing this media mentality to continue, it directly contributes to the ignorance and lack of knowledge exhibited by the general population. It is also harmful for transgender youth that are taught through the media that they will be bullied or laughed at because of who they are. It is vital that media representation is improved if there is any hope of battling ignorance and promoting understanding. “We hope that representations of transgender people on television evolve to become as diverse, nuanced, and inspiring as the community those images reflect,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.  “Media has a history of telling the world a story that transgender people are always victims or villains, instead of true depictions that show the transgender community as citizens worthy of equality and respect.” (


Media is essential. In one study, researchers said “Existing research has identified the role that various media play for LGBTQ individuals in this process and suggests that media figures play an important role in their identity development. This research has also associated exposure to positive LGBTQ representations with resilience and well-being. One issue is that in mainstream media, LGBTQ representations are relatively uncommon. Even though they have become more frequent in recent years, the scope of portrayals is still limited for example, gay men are featured far more frequently than other groups while other identities remain nearly invisible. Further, these depictions are often stereotyped or otherwise bowdlerized and therefore provide limited learning opportunities” (Ralston). Media is an outlet for oppressed groups to find comradery, acceptance, and guidance. Without it, the stories of transgender people become lost in the shuffle. There is still a great deal of important work to be done. The best way to attack this is through the careful analysis and questioning that we have begun to work on through projects like this one. Overall, I will conclude by saying that finding pieces of myself in media was essential for my survival, but it left a lot to be desired. If I based my entire identity off of films, I would only believe that my life was meant to end in tragedy. That’s why representation is so important. It’s important for the young, transgender kid, scared of what their life is going to look like. I want to change the stories they see. If I could go back to my young self, sitting at home, terrified and questioning my identity, I would only say one thing: you do not have a death count. Your story does not have to be a tragic one. I want to share with the world that this life is not full of tragedy; that it is absolutely possible to grow up and be happy. That’s what’s at stake with representation, and that is why it is vital to continue to evolve and grow in the way that we portray transgender characters.


Works Cited:

Jessica, Guynn and TODAY USA. “Transgender Ads Break Ground at Espys.” USA Today

Ralston, Rachel. “Queer Identity Online: Informal Learning and Teaching Experiences of LGBTQ Individuals on Social Media.” Elsevier 65 (2016): 635-42. Gender Studies          Database [EBSCO]. Web.

 The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Twentieth Century Fox, 1975. Film.

Tangerine. Dir. Sean Baker. Duplass Brothers Productions, 2015. Film.

Silence of the Lambs. Dir. Jonathan Demme. Strong Heart Productions, 1991. Film.

“Victims or Villains: Examining Ten Years of Transgender Images on Television.” GLAAD.                      12 Jan. 2017. Web.

Willis, Raquel. “Hollywood, You’re Halfway There With Trans Representation.” TheHuffington Post. TheHuffington, 14 Jan. 2015. Web.














Weightlifting Women in the Media

     In recent years, weightlifting among women has grown in popularity with more and more women braving the weight room to increase strength and musculature. Instagram and YouTube have been flooded with fitness vloggers teaching women how to “grow a booty” and “tone up”, and numerous studies have shown the benefits of strength training for women, both psychologically and physically. However, in a culture which values women’s femininity and fragility I set out to examine how the media and stereotypes might work against women who do or want to weight lift. It was my goal to critically examine representations of athletic women in the media and popular culture, and compare those representations with the reality of women weightlifters and the myths they perpetuate. What I found (and more importantly, what I didn’t) was very telling about how we view strong, weightlifting women. It seems there is a very narrow standard by which we judge active women, which rarely includes strong, muscular, weightlifting women. The women who are strong and weightlift are frequently ignored and even actively discouraged in a culture which places importance on a woman’s appearance over physical ability.

     To begin with, it is rather difficult to find representations of women weightlifters in the first place. The fact I had such a hard time finding weightlifting women might contribute to women’s hesitancy to lift weights in the first place if they never see representations of themselves weightlifting in popular media. A lack of representation for women can make it seem rare or even impossible for women to weightlift. Most representations of active women in the media exist at either side of an extreme spectrum – a thin, frail woman who gets her exercise by doing yoga and running with no serious weightlifting, or a manly, iron pumping caricature of femininity. Surely, athletic brands would appreciate the vast variety of active women. However, this was not the case. Lululemon, a popular athletic brand, released an advertisement (Lululemon 2015) which rather than focusing on women’s strength and power, chose to focus on the kind of person these women are and their thin, dainty bodies. Rather than showing a variety of sports and situations their clothes could be worn in, the advertisement focused on the way these women felt wearing these clothes while doing things like painting, yoga, and other activities frequently thought of as feminine. The advertisement reinforced the idea that as a woman, it doesn’t matter what you might be doing, what matters is how you look while doing it. The lack of representation for strong, muscular, weightlifting women extends even to athletic brands which choose to focus on femininity and softness to sell their products.

    So even if an athletic brand is not going to focus in physical capability for the women purchasing their clothes, then perhaps a gym would? This is not so much the case for Planet Fitness (Planet Fitness 2016). Rather than showing women weightlifting, or being active at all, they are shown in the locker room getting ready, standing around a mirror. There is a dichotomy of women in the commercial – a group of three attractive women calling each other hot in front of the mirror, and an unattractive and insecure woman sheepishly covering herself in a towel watching from a bench. The woman on the bench is made to feel intimidated and not enough in the presence of these thin, immaculately groomed young women. No one is shown exercising in the commercial. Again, rather than choosing to show strong women, the commercial focuses on skinny, frail female bodies as the embodiment of attractiveness and gym goers.

     So what myths might this lack of representation create which contribute to women’s hesitancy to weightlift despite mounting scientific evidence of its benefits? Weightlifter Aditi Sharma (Sharma 2016) explains some of the myths women have about weightlifting, some of which she even believed herself before she started lifting. She explains many women think they will get thick or bulky of they lift weights, however this cannot possibly happen without years of experience and possibly steroids given women have only a fraction of the testosterone that men do, which is responsible for building muscle. Many women also believe the only way to tone up or build lean muscle is to do many (15+) reps of very light weights. This is again not true. In order to build muscle, the muscles need progressive overload and to become fatigued, which requires lifting heavy. There is also a general idea that the only way to look better is to lose weight and burn as much fat as possible. In order to grow a butt and become curvy, muscle must be built underneath the fat, which can mean gaining weight for some. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and thus burns more calories throughout the day.

     In her piece “Do you even lift bro? : a psychodynamic feminist analysis of the mental health benefits of weightlifting for women”, Katharine MacShane examines the psychological benefits women could gain from weightlifting, and how hypermasculinity within fitness culture affects women and even discourages weightlifting. Her paper points out that women actually receive more psychological benefit, such as increases in confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance, from weightlifting than from cardio alone (MacShane 17). Women who weightlift also report fewer body issues than women who do not (MacShane 17).

     As for barriers women experience who want to weight lift, MacShane points out that muscularity in men is accepted and even celebrated, whereas muscularity in women is not as socially acceptable. She uses gender constructionist theory to explain how boys and girls are taught to view their bodies differently growing up, which can contribute to differences in attitudes towards weightlifting. Because boys are taught to be tough and strong, it is more likely they will grow up to weightlift than girls. For girls on the other hand, softness and femininity is valued over strength. Children grow up adhering to and being praised for the standards applied to them, while alternatively being punished or ostracized for not living up to them. MacShane points out men are encouraged to get big – both with their bodies and posture, whereas women are expected to make themselves smaller and take up less space. “If gender is indeed a social construct, the policing of gender roles at the level of the physical body serves to restrict women to a limited range of acceptable possibilities for what their bodies might look like, and what they might be capable of doing,” (MacShane 29).

     Despite mounting scientific evidence for its benefits, weightlifting while female continues to be a bit of a taboo in our culture. Not only is it difficult to find representations of strong, weightlifting women in the first place, the women I can find fit a very narrow definition of athletic or attractive. This lack of representation contributes to myths which are perpetuated about weightlifting for women. These myths are reinforced by the unspoken rules we learn about masculinity and femininity growing up, further ostracizing women from weightlifting. While lifting weights as a woman might seem intimidating or even unnecessary, there are numerous benefits despite a culture which doesn’t acknowledge or even discourages it. It is my hope that in coming years we will continue to destroy outdated stereotypes which limit women’s ideas of what they can and cannot do, including weightlifting.

Sources Cited

Emery, Lindsey. “4 Reasons Women Shouldn’t Fear the Weight Room.”, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Lululemon. “Lululemon | Choose Feeling.” YouTube. YouTube, 31 Aug. 2015.

MacShane, Katharine H., “Do you even lift bro? : a psychodynamic feminist analysis of the mental health benefits of weightlifting form women” (2014). Theses, Dissertations, and Projects. Paper 787.

Planet Fitness. “Planet Fitness Lunk Alarm Commercials.” YouTube. YouTube, 29 June 2016.

Sharma, Aditi. “weightlifting for Women.” My Republica. My Republica, 12 Aug. 2016. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

College Student Stereotypes in Pop Culture Media

College is an important time for most people. It’s a time where young adults leave their house for the first time without their parents, it’s a natural step in society and kind of socially acceptable that most teenagers attend and go to college. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, to get educated. Attending a university and ultimately graduating helps an individual prepare for a career. This is why so many people go to college because they want a high pay and valuable job that you can’t get unless you have a degree in some specific major. College students are expected to take multiple classes with heavy course work, while working a part time jobs and often times participating in extracurricular activities. It’s a heavy load and college students in my views are some of the hardest workers in society. Although we are not portrayed that way in the media. Instead as being seen as hard workers dedicated to education and working towards a career, we are seen as lazy, loud, substance intoxicated students. Through my research of exploring the college student identity in pop culture I have come to the conclusion that pop culture media wrongfully stereotypes college students in order to increase their own goals and this is important because pop culture media meaning, tv shows, movies, articles, the news etc. has a large population it reaches towards and influences. So if pop culture media continues to stereotype college students wrongfully then it will influence society’s perceptions towards college students. This will have multiple consequences towards college students. Every college student will be put in this stereotype when in reality most college students are dedicated to their education and are not just looking to party during their time in college.

My first piece of research is a tv show called Undeclared. Undeclared is an american sitcom created by Fox It follows the lives of 8 college freshman students as they try to navigate their new lives as college students. The purpose of this show is solely based on comedy as every episode has jokes and the cast are known to be comedians in real life. One interesting detail that I noticed was the amount of time, that the first episode of the show took to actually discus classes, careers and majors. Topics that are common to discuss with your friends and even more so with your roommates. The show hardly ever showed that side of college, instead they stayed with just showing the common false stereotypes that college students get. Meaning that the show focused a lot of speaking and air time of the characters drinking and partying. This shows why many people think that college is just a time to party and get drunk, because so much media just shows this side, like Undeclared. They don’t spend time showing the characters studying or doing homework, which is what every college student has to go through. It also just shows the male characters just talking and thinking about sex and girls, that again is another stereotype. Not every male college students just thinks about and wants to have as much sex as possible, most have other goals. For a reference of the show I attached a trailer of the show below.

Another piece of evidence that I found in my research is a youtube video that was made by youtuber Ryan Higa and it is a parody video of how colleges never fully explain to their students the reality of college, until they are actually in college.This video was pretty interesting, it highlighted facts that colleges do not say or even express when they are trying to get students to come to their college. As well as it shows the life of an average college student and the struggles they have to go through, with things like working while being in school, paying loans after your done with school, all the pre required courses that you have to take but, question about because they do not fit with your career choice. Of course this video still showed classic stereotypes of college students with scenes of students partying and sleeping most of the time, but it’s main focus was to show how weird and outdated the college system is as well as to show the actual life of a college student. This video wasn’t focused on college stereotypes but instead brought actual fundamentals questions about the college system in a hilarious way that most individuals can relate with. I believe that if it was broadcasted more and not just put in youtube, it could have a real impactful change on society and get more people thinking about why college is set up the way that it is. I have attached the video below.

Another research source that I have found was an article whose purpose was to summarize and show the schedule and daily life of a college student. Going in detail what majors are and why you need to pick a major as well as it explained in how college is different from high school and what the major changes to be ready for. For example not seeing your family as much, having multiple different class schedules and even working while in school. It also gave two real life examples of current college students schedules. The schedules seemed very similar. Waking up in the morning, heading to class, lunch, work and then late night homework and studying. It reminds me of my schedule that I have right now. The article relates to my subject of college students because unlike other media outlets this source is actually correct about the life of a college student and does not base their facts on stereotypes like other sources of media. The two examples that give of the students schedules can be used in my report to counter stereotypes of college students. As well as the whole article gives of  an energy that college students are hard workers that have to handle a lot from classes, homework, work, clubs etc. However there is one piece of information that does not make college students look good and that is when they were showing the two schedules of the two students , both of them put that they do homework late at night and kind of push it off. This is a stereotype seen in pop culture that is showing some basis to be true, with this article. The two schedules are posted below.

Through all of my research I have it can be seen that college students are falsely portrayed in pop culture media, when in reality college students are hardworking are often struggle with all of their work and dedication they have to do.

During the course their were two valuable moments that i’ve learned. One is during week 4 where we analyzed primary and secondary sources, this was valuable to me because I learned how define articles that were credible from others that were not as well as to distinguish the difference between primary and secondary resources. This will help me in my future classes and research papers by using credible sources that will only strengthen my essays. Another important lesson that I learned is how much time, effort and strategies go into advertising. I see now that advertisers don’t just try to put flashy and eye appealing scenes in their videos, but they strategically place their messages where they want to. By learning this I have become less subject to ads and start questioning the ad instead of the product that their selling.

Works Cited:

Title: A Day in the Life of a College Student

Author:  Katie McKoon

Publisher: Carnegie Communications

Date of Publication:


Date of Publication: November 15, 2015


Youtube Video: Honest University Commercial

Youtube Channel: nigahiga

Published on Feb 21, 2014



TV Show: Undeclared

Network: FOX

Executive producer: Judd Apatow

Genre: Sitcom

Cast: Jay Baruchel, Carla Gallo, Charlie Hunnam, Monica Keena, Seth Rogen


Video gamers

Growing up video gaming has always been looked negatively upon, but in the recent years, I have seen severe changes to the video game industry and also changes in the portrayals of video game players. While I was growing up people around me would laugh at people who played video games and call them nerds or geeks simply because they were simply enjoying themselves playing video games. Not only were video gamers called nerd, unsuccessful geeks but they were also told that video games could rot the brain and also make them obese. Movies and TV shows would also make a joke out of video game players. Video gamers were the anti-social ones, the ones who get bullied, so as a little girl I did not want to participate in something I find joyful. Fortunately, as time goes by the video gaming industry changed and evolved into something unrealistically beautiful and great. Even though video gamers are portrayed as anti-social, nerds, and unsuccessful geeks, video gaming isn’t so bad because modern day video gaming can make a good income and a lot of pop culture people play video games. In my study, I analyzed the type of video gamers in the inter-webs to explore diversity, how they’re portrayed, and both physical and behavioral attributes, whether they’re unsuccessful or successful.

The video game industry has changed and evolved dramatically over the years and also has their players. I was born in the fifth generation of the video gaming industry, and during that time we had the Nintendo 64’s, Game boys and then eventually we switched to the PlayStations, Game cubes, and many other consoles. Now we’re playing video games on our own little handheld smartphone, laptop, or computer. All of these improvements were made within the last decade and a half, the video game industry is evolving fast, faster than ever and it’s still growing. But who are the players behind all these consoles?


In my study, I found that almost all teens play video games. Actually, 97% of teens play computer, web, portable, or console games. Just in America, there’s an average of two gamers in each household and 43% spend 3 or more hours per week playing video games. The study shows that video game players are 44% females and 56% male players. Most video gamers are 18-35 years old, 26% are under the age of 18. After I figured out the ratio of video game players I wanted to see how people use video games in everyday life. (Lenhart, 2)

In the following study, I analyzed video game players on Twitch, YouTube and other forms of medias where people play video games. Twitch is a platform where people can live stream themselves playing video games. YouTube is another platform that video gamers use to upload videos of themselves playing video games or review video games. As I watch multiple players I mainly did not see the normal stereotype portrayals of video gamers. I didn’t see thick glasses, nor did I see socially awkward obese video game players. Instead, I saw people, your everyday normal dressed people playing video games. After I analyzed that aspect I wanted to see who got successful from playing video games.

Given the results of studies, I found that there are a lot of pro video game players. Professional video gamers who play in tournaments and make a huge income. Lee Sang Hyeok a Korean video gamer known as Faker made over $229,659.02 when he was 17 years old and his earnings by year skyrocketed. In the year 2016, his year earning was $418,365.33. He made $897,818.98 for playing the game League of Legends. Not only does he make a huge income off of playing games but he also made a reputation for himself. Faker is a superstar league player, one of the most important people in Esports. Many who play the game aspire to be like him. When the superstar joined Twitch he immediately broke streaming record. His stream peaked over 245,000 concurrent views making his stream the most watched stream hosted by an individual in Twitch history.

This shows that not only did he become successful after playing video games, but he also broke stereotypes about video gamers. As I stated before, growing up I have been afraid of playing video games however, this proves to me that video game no longer looked negatively upon, but rather positively, given the many positive responses from viewers and fans that Faker receives.

Video games has been advertised in many media and another successful individual that got popular by playing video game is the famous PewDiePie. Age 27, PewDiePie is the most subscribed YouTuber on YouTube. He’s known for playing video games and is always in the spotlight. PewDiePie is known as one of the most influential people in the world. PewDiePie’s channel stars his reactions to several of games he has played. PewDiePie, isn’t an anti-social person, he’s rather goofy, energetic and people believe he has a great personality as of why he is now a YouTube personality.

People of the past generation views video gaming negatively and believes the players who play video games as losers. In one of my research, I found that a Pastor by the name of Gene Lingerfelt expressed his views upon video games which contained much negativity. He states that video games are the reasons why girls in his church cannot get a date and that they’re possessed by a ‘retarded spirit’. (Mehta) However, given my studies, I see that PiewDiePie is a healthy successful individual with a loving girlfriend. In class, we learned to analyze advertisement and see behind it and find the truth thus I learned that PewDiePie has made many positive attributions to the community. He helps raises and donates millions to charity. PewDiePie doesn’t just play video games but he helps the world and understands that there are problems in the world.

To break stereotype, even more, is YouTube personality, iJustine. iJustine is a YouTube personality who is also known for playing video games. The YouTuber graduated from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute in  2004 after that she got popular for her 200-page iPhone bill, but that wasn’t what interested me for my research, what did was, she skipped prom to go to a LAN party, a place where people gather to play video games. iJustine says that growing up she was a video gamer and her mother would take away her computer and games as a punishment. But that didn’t stop her from winning a video game tournament. She along with Antonio Brown won a Doom video game tournament.


Yet, despite the shift in video gamers, there are still people who are afraid to tell others that they play video games, and afraid of joining the video game community. One person who falls in this category is record producer, songwriter, and rapper T-pain. T-pain admitted that he was afraid of not getting accepted into the gaming community. T-pain expresses that he doesn’t have anyone to share his interests to even though he has been a video gamer for years.  In my research, I found that the celebrity loves playing video game and recently joined the Twitch community and streamed himself playing video games. I thought this was so inspirational to break all stereotypes about video gamers. T-pain is an avid video gamer and he plays games to relief stress and have fun. Video gaming is considered an outlet for him.

Mortal Konsequences by Mamie Ko, explains that that most adult believes that video games makes their child violent and anti-social, and is a waste their time, thus they refuse to let kids play video games. However, given my examples, I believe that not all video gamers are anti-social and that sometimes it’s a good investment. Research shows that almost all teens play video games, (Lenhart, 2) so stopping a child from playing video games can actually result negatively in their behavior. As our culture is growing, video gaming is becoming a huge attribution to our community. Kids will talk to one another about video games, so imagine if a child was unable to join a conversation because they have no prior experience in video gaming, to have no video gaming experiences means that the child might and can be left out of the conversation. Some might even be scared to join and talk about video gaming because of adults negative views.

“Games to do you good” by Bavelier, show that games do well to the brain and does no harm. Bavelier’s study shows that after playing games people can pick up color better and people who play games can pick up invaluable skills. Most video game requires teamwork and because it requires teamwork, people are forced to socialize and learn to how to communicate in a way that will contribute to the team. Those who are anti-social and want to win will have to learn skills to talk to people and communicate with each other. Another good thing about video gaming is that things get hard or complicated and when someone doesn’t know how to do something, they end up looking at guides on how to do it, which gives them more research skills, given that they had to search for the guide.

In class, I also learned about the influence of advertising and I believe that people who popular are also big influences. While the social media blames video gaming for being negative, they’re afraid of these video gamers influencing thousands. People are represented in a one-dimensional way over and over but as the world evolves certain individuals gain popularity and become more influential and as they grow many will follow. I believe that some are afraid of this, they’re afraid that the video game industry will be taking over the market. Seeing as how insanely huge the Esport world has become.

To conclude, my research findings show that in pop culture media, video gamers are looked upon in a positive light. They’re well-respected individuals who do no harm to the public. The portrayal of a video gamer depends upon who that individual is. Video gaming is considered an outlet for people to build upon. We are all alike whether we play video games or not. Female or male, we can accomplish many things.

Works Cited:


Mortal konsequences: new studies find video games lead to violent, anti-social behavior in children Ko, Marnie Report Newsmagazine (Alberta Edition), May 22, 2000, Vol.27

Teens, Video Games, and Civics: Teens’ Gaming Experiences Are Diverse and Include Significant Social Interaction and Civic Engagement Lenhart, Amanda ; Kahne, Joseph ; Middaugh, Ellen ; Macgill, Alexandra Rankin ; Evans, Chris ; Vitak, Jessica Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2008

Games to do you good
Bavelier, Daphne ; Davidson, Richard J.Nature, Feb 28, 2013, Vol.494(7438)

Pastor Gene on Video Games; Pastor Gene Lingerfelt, May, 2016

“Faker – Lee, Sang Hyeok – League of Legends Player Profile :: E-Sports Earnings.” Faker – Lee, Sang Hyeok – League of Legends Player Profile :: E-Sports Earnings. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

YouTube’s ‘PewDiePie’ Made $7.4M Last Year, Raised $1M for Charity; Paul Tassi, July 8, 2015

Games to do you good: neuroscientists should help to develop compelling video games that boost brain function and improve well-being.(COMMENT) Bavelier, Daphne ; Davidson, Richard J. Nature, Feb 28, 2013, Vol.494(7438), p.425(2)

Mixed Representation

When I was little, I thought everyone was like me. Many of my friends also had white dads and Asian moms, and I was surrounded by faces with the same mixed race features. Being raised among people who shared my racial experiences brought me in tune with my identity. I fit in with others who didn’t fit in, kids who grew up in bilingual households, who understood the quirks of a Filipino party, who were just as inquisitive when their mothers took them along grocery shopping at oriental markets. As I grew up, I became accustomed to the diversity and racial conflict in the world, and more distant with family traditions. Nowadays, most of my friends are of different races, and I stick out as the “Asian” in the group. But when I am around Asian people, I am clearly aware of my whiteness. This racial binary bleeds into my observations of pop culture. It is a rare occurrence to find someone with my multiracial identity in a Hollywood narrative, and I feel compelled to choose a side I want to relate to. Most often in mainstream media, mixed race individuals are misrepresented or not represented at all.

I was surprised to recently discover an ongoing comic series called Wayward, which features a half Japanese and half Irish teenage girl. Although created by white men, the story was, for the most part, culturally aware and respectful to its protagonist, and I found many of her experiences relatable. I felt comfort in the familiarity of the way Rori stuck out among her peers, and resonated with her cultural pride. In the comic, Rori visits her mother’s homeland of Japan, learns about her heritage, and realizes that she possesses a superhuman ability. There is an elaborate storyline of magical realism, colorful action sequences, and profound themes of fate and empowerment. Wayward proves that compelling stories can be told from minority perspectives.


While I overall enjoyed the comic and connected to Rori, her whitewashed appearance bothered me. She exhibited no visual traits of her Japanese side, but had natural bright red hair and green eyes. Whether it was a creative or commerical decision, since a striking lead role might draw in more readers, I do not think Rori accurately portrays most mixed race girls’ appearances. I found it disheartening that this rare chance I find a character relatable, she is not truly like me. Being one of the few characters with this mixed race identity in popular culture places more influence on Rori’s portrayal. Unfortunately, Wayward‘s representation of a half Asian teenager perpetuates racist undertones and lacks some authenticity, yet its creators are still making art and money off her experience.

In TV, I found the character Brook Soso from Orange is the New Black as an excellent example of a three-dimensional half Asian, half white character. She defies Asian female stereotypes of being submissive, and has her own values and aspirations. Like Rori, Brook openly acknowledges her multiracial identity. In this scene, Brook shares her struggles with a full Chinese inmate, who subtly dismisses her Asian background, further distancing her character. In Orange is the New Black, diversity is celebrated, but the negative experiences of a minority individual are not overlooked either.


Although I appreciated the characters of Rori and Brook, they took some searching to find. Minority visibility is a problem in mainstream media, because when an identity is inaccessible to the public, it becomes less known or cared about.

Mixed race characters are rare to encounter, but when they do exist, their appearances are often problematic. The 2015 film Aloha, directed by Cameron Crowe, has a mixed race character named Allison Ng. This would be considered an accomplishment for the biracial community if Allison was not played by the white actress Emma Stone. This example is one of many instances of whitewashing in the film industry. During Week 5, we looked at representation in Hollywood and how distorted portrayals of minorities often are. To quote Professor Bergland in the class blog post: “What stories and experiences are we missing out on by not seeing them in films? How do these reflections, and specifically, these omissions, influence how we see ourselves and others?” By casting a white woman over a role meant for a unique person of color, Allison’s Chinese and Hawaiian heritage is not properly recognized, promoting an erasure of her true experiences. And by limiting their roles and exposure, people tend to view mixed race women in real life with the generalizations they see in film.

In a 2007 CNN interview with the half Vietnamese and half white actress Maggie Q, she reflects on how her race impacts her movie roles: “…it’s really hard to be a woman walking into a room and be ethnic and have them not care. 90% of the scripts I get are for White girls. And Asians may think I look really Western, but Westerners think I look really Asian. So I am in this sort of, pocket of, this big questionable pocket…” She feels like her roles are limited to the binary she has been placed in.

When mixed race women are given attention in the media, it is usually from the male gaze for harmful and superficial reasons. There is an excessive focus on looks, which tends to objectify them. Complex published an online article titled, “The 50 Hottest Biracial Women,” praising the sex appeal of numerous mixed race women, making light of the anniversary of Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage. It trivialized a historical moment and the experience of minorities into simply what they had to offer men. Upon Googling “half Asian girl,” the first results to appear are online forums with titles like “Half-asians are the most attractive ethnicity,” “Why are half asian women so attractive?” and “Sexy Half Asians.” This sexism turns into fetishization with the Weezer song “El Scorcho,” where the lead singer croons, “Goddamn you half-Japanese girls, do it to me every time.”

In Sasha Welland’s ColorLines Magazine article, “Being Between,” she states: “As new Census data tracked the growth of overall minority populations in the U.S., marketers scrambled to develop campaigns that would appeal to as diverse an audience as possible… ethnic enough to draw consumers of color, yet light enough to remain palatable and vaguely exotic to white audiences.” In this sense, mixed race people are objectified into a method of marketing that is both inclusive and damaging. While it serves a practical purpose towards a mixed race consumer population, it creates a certain societal image of the “ideal mixed race person.” Additionally, it involves elements of colorism, where darker-skinned people are less appealing. Jeffrey Santa Ana reflects on a similar idea in his essay “Feeling Ancestral,” writing: “There is a significant profit to be made by ‘cashing in on that mixed-race look’. In today’s fashion industry, for instance, to be mixed race is in as an aesthetic of diversity…” This is seen in Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4 fashion show that specifically called for multiracial models. This focus on the models being mixed race is positive in the sense that it increases visibility, but unfortunate that it stereotypes them into something exotic and trendy. While attempting to be diverse, it excludes those who don’t fit into these strictly aesthetic categories, furthering mixed race women’s struggle to conform. If being mixed is fashionable, there is a significance placed on the women’s looks over who she is.

Screenshot (666)

When I was young, it wasn’t difficult to find peers to relate to my racial identity. Unfortunately, as I have grown up, it is harder to find cultural familiarity. In pop culture, half Asian women are not well represented. They are whitewashed, sexualized, exotified and made into a fashion commodity. The mixed race experience is distinctive and has the potential for a lot of great stories that should not be ignored. I do not see my true identity given the attention it should in the media, and I know many other half Asian, half white women share the same belief.

Learning Moments:

This class allowed me to extensively reflect on the media we consume everyday. Our Big Picture Blog Post project pushed me to analyze confusing feelings I have always had about representation in pop culture, and find concrete examples and explanations behind my emotions. Additionally, I became aware of the faults in news reports and journalism, specifically during Week 6 where we discussed clickbait articles and biased reporting. I have learned to be a critical reader and actively challenge what I see (or don’t see).


Works Cited

2015. I Kind of Care about You, Petra. Comp. Queerpeaks. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Ana, Jeffrey S. “Feeling Ancestral: The Emotions of Mixed Race and Memory in Asian American Cultural Productions.” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2008, pp. 457-482. Project MUSE,

Bergland, Daneen. “Week 5: Reflections in Hollywood Film.” Winter17 UNST 254A Course Blog. WordPress, 6 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.– hollywood-film/

Aloha. Dir. Cameron Crowe. Perf. Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, and Emma Stone. Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2015. Web.

LuStout, Kristi. “Interview with Maggie Q.” Talkasia. CNN, 19 Nov. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Robertson, Josh. “The 50 Hottest Biracial Women.” Complex. N.p., 12 June 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.– biracial-women/

WeezerVEVO. “Weezer – El Scorcho (Director’s Cut).” YouTube. YouTube, 16 June 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Welland, Sasha S. “Being between: can multiracial Americans form a cohesive anti-racist movement beyond identity politics and Tiger Woods chic?.” The Free Library 22 June 2003. 14 March 2017. esiveanti-racist…-a0103192535

West, Kanye. Season 4 Casting. Digital image. Twitter. 3 Sept. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Zub, Jim, Steven Cummings, and John Rauch. Page 6. Digital image. Wayward (2014) # 1., 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Zub, Jim, Steven Cummings, John Rauch, and Tamra Bonvillain. Wayward Book 1: Deluxe HC. Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2015. Print.


The Portrayal of East Asian Americans in American Television

One of the greatest distributors of popular media in the United States would be television. With a 99% household ownership of television sets, including the majority of which own more than one, it’s not difficult to see the power that American television holds in distributing information to a large number of people.


Today, it’s a common statement to hear about the lack of representation of all people of color in media. Here is a video series by actor and activist Dylan Marron, who edited popular Hollywood films to only feature words spoken by people of color and here is a study from the University of Southern Carolina which analyzed the portrayal of people of color, women, and the LGBT+ community in the greatest grossing films of Hollywood from 2007 to 2014, as well as the top grossing films of the industry. For me, watching and reading both of these together was an eye-opening moment to notice implicit and subliminal misrepresentation. It shows the importance of becoming aware and the combined impact of various mediums to further conclude a point. The use of various mediums can be beneficial in ensuring understanding among many people as it taps into a range of learning styles and techniques and provides a stronger sense of evidence and support for a claim. This skill can be used later in life to be efficiently informed, aware, and thoughtful of those situations in order to understand why they occur and how to work around it for improvement and progression.


I decided to focus on one of my identities of an East Asian American. I choose this particular one because I find race to be one of my master identities and one that plays into more of my life experiences than a few others; not to mention, is consistently one that is either not portrayed or lacking accurate portrayal in popular culture.


Looking into three American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television shows, I discuss the prevailing stereotypes of Eastern Asians, their impact on individuals who accept that identity, and what direction I believe representation should occur in further media.



The problematic: Samurai Girl


Heaven Kogo, played by Jamie Chung, is a teenage girl who finds some unfortunate news in her corrupted adoptive family and vows to become a samurai to “follow her ancestors” and save her family after reading a prophecy.


Clearly, there are some problems here. The pilot begins with Heaven’s arranged marriage in an inaccurately portrayed traditional Korean wedding. From the start, Asian families are portrayed in a negative light with unreasonable control – which unreasonably controlling parents are a negative stereotype for Asian culture as it is an exaggeration of generational-based respect. Then, as Heaven begins her journey in merely becoming a samurai (also, questionably disrespectful to the Korean culture), he newfound American friends help here, who seem to know a lot about Korean culture.


Here, we see the obvious difference is cultural ideals: individualistic and collectivistic between her friends and her family. Again, this plays into the idea that as Heaven takes on more Western ideals, she is able to come closer to individualism and finding herself. This puts the idea that collectivistic cultures are negative and controlling in Western culture based on the fact that overlying ideas of loyalty and mentality of reaction is difference. But, that’s the thing: it’s just merely different. There is no wrong culture, but American television heavily emphasizes that eastern culture (collectivistic) culture is unappealing and problematic. Even if this can play into the idea of the ideologies and life of the “bad guys” or the antagonists are all bad, it goes to note that it is strongly based in a culture that is still prevalent in today’s society. It makes sense to play the antagonist is an all round bad person and so are the things he believe in, but there is no “other side” to Asian culture that shows any of the good aspects. In broader terms, it can show young Asian girls that their home life can be unhealthy and have them turn towards western or individualistic culture. This is interesting because both cultures have negatives and positives but the show, and many other popular media, show that there is only one way to live a purposeful and living life, and everything else is just plain wrong. This can be damaging to the audience, as its audience is teens (specifically female), because it brings up extremist ideals of picking either one culture or another.


As a first generation, Asian American, I have experienced the difficulties in balancing two drastically different cultures and have found a balance that I am comfortable with after 20 years, but that may not be the case of everyone. Some may lean one way or another, but this ideology implies that one is greater than the other. In addition, culture is mold-able and ever changing, so to imply that an individual needs to pick one now, it completely unreasonable and further drives a stick of confusion down on a learning young adult.


More on her journey to becoming a samurai, Heaven is seamlessly effective and masterful of martial arts with no stated history of it, even as we see that she begins training in the show. It is noted that she is “girly clumsy” yet effortlessly nails all of the fighting down and agilely lands perfectly. The portrayal of the stereotype that all Asians are masters in martial arts is shown in a very exaggerated fashion, which further perpetuates the stereotype more negatively. This is a weird mash up of modern teen drama television and one of those older fantasy martial arts movies. It mocked Asian art and ancient handwritten scrolls in the cheesy prophecy – as well as the honor of samurais. This is revealing to see why people will ask if every Asian “knows karate” with the basic punches, kicks, and unnecessary flips since it shows that just any Asian will be inherently good at it and ignores years of training. Overall, this was disrespectful to east Asian culture and manipulates the perceptions that other people will have on east Asians shallowly and negatively.


Almost there: Fresh off the Boat


The sitcom based during the 1990’s focuses on the family of the Huangs. The Taiwanese family recently moved to Orlando, Florida from Chinatown, Washington D.C. to open a western-style restaurant deriving from The American Dream concepts. As they have moved into a dominantly white neighborhood, whereas they came from a heavily Asian dense neighborhood before, the family has a hard time “fitting in.” Again, this treads lightly in the individualistic versus collectivistic culture battle, but take the battle in a different direction: in lessons of how “it’s okay to be different than your friends” kind of conversation among the family members, especially to the kids.


The first episodes focused on “fitting in,” such as a problem with racism in the kids’ school, but the show gradually moves away from that and into more silly and mundane issues like, lying about doing the dishes or hiding a secret from your mom. This derives from the perception that people of color, only experience “ethnic experiences” such as battling with racism and not have “regular” experience, such as the mundane family problems that everyone else has. This could be compared to the shows, Modern Family or Malcolm in the Middle, both of which contain a dominantly white cast, that many find relatable and likable. Fresh off the Boat was one of the first successful American shows with a major Asian cast, bringing a new light and story to the screen. This is important to show the typicality of family life among a wider range of different family types and families of various races and beneficial to underrepresented individuals who are looking for confirmation of solidarity.


While I believe this is progressing in the right direction of how to provide representation in media, there are some problems with this show. There are plenty of stereotypes perpetuated such as: Asians and studying or excelling in school, strict parenting styles, little emotion or affection shown between Asian family members, upholding family values, and excelling in the multiple activities at a young age (instruments, sports, etc.). This is damaging to the perception of Asians from others, as well as self-esteem and self-identity within the Asian community. Stereotypes, repeated enough, show and provide a one sided, single story of an entire group of people.


All the same, the show challenges other Asian stereotypes as well. It feeds into stereotypes, yet debunks others. I find this interesting because it seems like the show wants to progress away from the “ethnic experience” yet occasionally throws it in for comic relief or to remind the audience that this is still, indeed, ethnic. Although I do think it’s normal to laugh about seemingly “positive” stereotypes, this reveals which are acceptable to talk about and show as well as what is touchy and only shown sparingly. I was torn on the subject to understand whether to be offended by this or not, but instead, I see it as a stepping stone in the right direct. Some aspects to consider in the small progression would be the mere fact that an Asian American family is the major role for an entire series that lasted more than one season!


In the right direction: Grey’s Anatomy


The popular medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, has been on air since 2005. It follows the personal and professional life of main character, Meredith Grey, and a group of surgeons and their interns at Seattle Grace Hospital. The only major character played by an Eastern Asian actress was executed by Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang.


Although some may argue that this plays into the “all Asians are smart” trope, I digress that some conforming into a stereotype or an identity can be appropriate if done correctly, such as becoming a doctor! (I would also heavily question why a doctor on screen was not represented as an expert or intelligent.) It’s important to differentiate between being intelligent and Asian to being intelligent because you’re Asian. Nowhere in the series was there an instance in the television show where Cristina Yang was addressed with blunt racial issues – besides the fact she might have a harder time progressing to the a higher level in the field due to her race or gender such as: getting the right internship, promotion, or another challenging opportunity to moving up – but this rather served as commentary on the current issues in the medical industry. This more so served as Cristina publicly displaying doubts about herself and her abilities.


Although Cristina is one of the main cast and best friend to the main character, she still serves as a strong support. Cristina is confident, level-headed, and commonly referred to as a voice of reason is dramatic situations. This is not a bad role and I believe this type of representation is the direction that media should go with representation of East Asians and other people of color. However I am accustomed and favorable to the character Cristina Yang, I feel like her purpose in the series could have been played by any other woman, despite race. The role was not specifically made “Asian,” but rather filled perfectly in the shoes of someone from Asian descent.
Despite the progressive representation, one comment that I will say about the show is that there is a general lack of people of color in the main cast, which is apparently quite large as shown above. As previously discussed, the lack of people of color in movies and television shows are known film industry issues, it’s noted that this could also represent the diversity problem within the healthcare field – not that this warrants an excuse to continue this practice of excluding people of color for media.




Similar to the Doltish Dad stereotype as shown in Hanna Rosin’s article, the representation of Eastern Asian Americans in American television needs to be questions about why we accept the misrepresentation and consider what significance accurate and inclusive portrayals can provide. Rosin suggests that when a father “could not see his image reflected on TV, which essentially meant he did not exist.” This was a learning moment in recognizing all aspects of representation, and the fact that progress can be slow, yet still significant. The prompt from this reading allowed me to analyze more in depth of reasoning why stereotypes can be hurtful to not only the people they misrepresent, but the perceptions of those who consume the media and take them as their only truths. I used this analytical technique in coming to the conclusion that the perceptions of Asian Americans use to heavily rely on flat stereotypes perpetuated in popular media, which striped Asian Americans from being well-rounded people and took a toll on the already present confusion in the conflicting self-identities and social grouping of young Asian Americans. Firstly, the slow progression to accurate representation of Asian Americans begins with being aware and acknowledging; then, open roles (thus, not racially specific roles) that allow the actor or actress to fill with their own unique experience and represent their people as themselves.





Chan, R. (n.d). Asian American Portrayals in Mainstream Media. The Hyphen Project: Asian Americans and Alternative Media. [WordPress Blog Post]

Fong, T. P. (2008). The contemporary Asian American experience : beyond the model minority (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall.

Shah, H. (2003). ‘Asian Culture’ and Asian American Identities in the Television and Film Industries of the United States. (3 ed.). Simile: Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education.

Retail workers are seen as being more machine-like.


Daily service jobs have always been done by humans but lately the future of machines has influence the community in having a more error-free, efficient and fast service experience. In pop-culture, Customers are being more important and the idea of a machine has become a way of treatment toward retail workers. The stereotypes are seen shows and futuristic movies where technology has advanced that people don’t need people in service jobs anymore.



A pop culture artifact that I think reflects this idea is the TV show,  “What would you do?” This show often reflects a rude customer and has shown this type of sub human behavior many times in the staged situations in the TV Show “What Would You Do?” A TV show where they stage situations with actors who play rude customers and service workers, they do these social experiments to see if people will intervene. In one episode, the customer was angry at the barista for getting her coffee order wrong, she then proceeded to get others involved and started telling him that “he shouldn’t work here”, becoming rude from the way that he made her coffee. There was yelling done by the customer that she treated him sub-human and more machine.

Sub- human could mean many things; it could be treating an employee less human and more machine. From machine, it can turn into computers and that’s a reality that could be seen more in the future. Another artifact is the movie Wall-E. Wall-E is about a small robot living in a world without humans who gets put onto a ship where all the service jobs are done by robots while the humans get special treatment. The humans are treated with care and given everything in an insist. The machines are made for their specific jobs and the need for human service and human contact isn’t there when machines are in charge, there is a tone that the humans get mad when machines are not performing to their best from technical difficulties. The machines turn out to be evil and try to destroy life, the humans learn that machines aren’t needed for everything and that at one point, people things by themselves.

The future is seen using machines in service jobs. Machine are running the service industry because it can be error-free. The need for humans doing these jobs won’t be there anymore because these jobs aren’t valued as much. A closer reality may be the Amazon Go stores, a type of grocery stores where people at the check stands won’t be needed, people just simply pick up what they want and leave. This may get rid of the jobs entirely because they aren’t seen as being important jobs.                                  


The reality of sub-human and machine could happen in life but it would impact a lot more things than just losing employees. The use of humans in these jobs is still as important as a machine.  An article by Harvard Business Review, “How Self-Service Kiosks Are Changing Customer Behavior” by Gretchen Gavett explains that with the use of technology and self-service kiosks changes how people use human services and how it becomes a different attitude when using a app or talking to a person. Ryan Buell says “If you think about the places where we’re truly loyal, these are often places where we’ve had the opportunity to develop a relationship, right? So when you walk into a Starbucks you frequent, the baristas will know you by name and they’ll know what drink you want. You feel important. You feel special. Their job is more meaningful because they get to interact with you.” (Buell). As humans are social creatures, it’s always nice to see the same people and connecting with them and people feel important, I have had customers who would remember what I told them 2 weeks ago and what they told me. As a student, customers common ask me “how was school today?” or “do you have homework today?”  Resulting not just social contact in one direction towards the customer but also towards me.

The use of technology may be useful for some people, but there are people that I see every day and know what they would want; either heavy or lighter bags, stamps or other services. People enjoy it when I know what’s expected and the transaction can become more meaningful and friendly.         

Machines are more logical in services, Ryan Buell says “Technology lacks flexibility. When we’re interacting with a person and we’re having trouble understanding something, the person can adjust to us. If we’re having a misunderstanding, they can help clarify it. Technology really can’t do either of these things.”(Buell) This is another understanding when humans do the job, For example, I can fix prices and complete other services that the self-checkout machines can’t. For example: cashing checks and selling stamps, remembering codes and how the till works. A lot of things that may not be done at self-checkout.

The people that work at these jobs often work for minimum wage and not very good benefits. Many are current college students or college graduates that work there for many reasons. There’s a wide diversity and age group that work in these jobs “in 2010, 11% of retail workers had less than high school education, 38% had a high school education, 31% have some college, 15% have a Bachelor’s degree, and 8% have an advanced      degree.”( Misra & Walkers).  When people think of these jobs, they see that the job is minimum wage and low maintain, not thinking of the job and people that work in the job as important, so when people hear that I’m an Architecture major, they are surprised. I also work with business majors, psychology majors and Beauty students.  There is a large group of current college students


The pop culture references show that service jobs aren’t as valued or important to the customers shopping. Many of the customers expect that the service jobs be done faster, more efficiently and error-free so associating humans to be like machines. The way that human service helps is more efficient when connecting with customers and being able to fix mistakes when seen with also accommodating to the customer’s needs.




Danisnotonfire. Digital image. Giphy. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Gavett, Gretchen. “How Self-Service Kiosks Are Changing Customer Behavior.” Harvard Buisness Review. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Misra, J., & Walters, K. (2016). All Fun and Cool Clothes? Youth Workers’ Consumer Identity in Clothing Retail. Work & Occupations, 43(3), 294-325. doi:10.1177/0730888416644949

Wall-E. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

 What Would You Do? Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.


Big Picture Blog Post


Everyday people take in more information than their brain can handle. Due to the need to process and use information our minds place things in categories for storage purposes, in other words we put labels on what we see in order to process information faster. Unfortunately we even label people we see and things we hear almost simultaneously on sight. Popular culture media is able to manipulate the ability to make our own labels and draw our own pictures. It is easy to spot racist or sexist trends in the media when you break it down, but one unusual trend I have spotted are negative tones oriented around somebody’s professional title. Through research I have analyzed a movie, a tv show, and a video to find that the accounting profession has negative tones in mainstream media and that accountants view themselves in a completely different light. The media misrepresents accountant’s leading to stereotypes about who they are and how they act.


The Media’s Depiction:

The first artifact I chose to analyze is a popular t.v. show called The Office. In the show there is an accounting team that works in The Office that is apart of every episode and provides a lot of comical material for the show. Since the show is a comedy the negative tones are aggressive and are meant to be light hearted and satirical. However, the personality traits demonstrated by the three members of the accounting group tend to go against the normal stereotypes of being “…low in status, conforming, lacking social skills and aesthetic abilities, passive, weak, shallow, cold, submissive, and evasive”(Rhode p.652). In the show members aren’t low in status, passive, or evasive. Regardless the accountant’s of The Office do demonstrate in great deal the lack of social skills and being cold. The head of the accounting team, Angela, is known for being extremely difficult to deal with and is fixated on having everything exactly the way she wants it to be. These stereotypes of fixation and lack of social understanding are demonstrated often through media outlets. All of the accountants in The Office are social outcasts but have been documented as the most productive group playing into the stereotype that accountants are infatuated with their work and known for being overly productive. Through my own experiences with job shadows and internships I know that people in this field of work are far from cold, impersonal, and social outcasts.

The second media source I chose to analyze was a recent movie put out titled The Accountant. This is Hollywood’s latest depiction of accountant’s since the movie was put out for public view in 2016. In the movie a young autistic boy grows up with a stern father, who pushes his limits physically and emotionally, and grows up to be a forensics accountant who “cooks the books” for some of the most dangerous criminals in town. A common occurrence during the film was poor socialization skills and autistic mannerisms. Throughout the movie the lead role repeated the phrase “I have to start what I finished”. This is a common stereotype in popular culture that accountant’s are linked to compulsive disorders and are oriented around completing tasks. However the movie mainly focused on the awkwardness between the two main characters, one the man I’ve discussed throughout this paragraph and the other a female who is an accountant for a corrupt business that the lead gets hired on too. The two grow to love each other but the entire film the accountant had a very hard time expressing himself to the girl. Most of the conversations they have up until the last half hour of the movie are very awkward in the sense of the man being unable to follow a normal path of conversation and being both reserved and abrasive.

A lot of these mannerisms displayed in The Accountant follow popular culture’s view of accountant’s, but this film is part of a shift in Hollywood’s depiction of the profession. In an academic journal titled, Perceptions of Accountants’ Ethics: Evidence from Their Portrayal in Cinema, the journal talks about all of the lead accountant roles in Hollywood since 1930. Their research found the most common theme along with lack of sociability is being known for unethical behavior and poor morals. This is the opposite of the role played in The Accountant who steals from criminals and gives the money to charity. I see a switch in the media from being corrupt people who handle money to more simple people but emphasize more heavily on their people skills. I believe this is due to less media coverage on business scandals where people get caught stealing and hiding money.

The last source I chose to analyze is a short youtube video of accountants telling personal stories to talk about their dreams and who they are to show they are everyday people like you and me. They tell various stories about how they grew up, their dreams, what they do, and how they see themselves and the profession from within.  The video shows a lot of personability and relatability, which is nothing like television’s depictions of these people. Later in the video it talks about how they help people everyday in their work and take pride in their work. In my research I found accountant’s are viewed to have jobs that have little compassion and usefulness. However business professionals and high ranking corporate officers will tell you their business would not be successful without accountants. These people take pride in their work and find compassion in their work to better other people and live fulfilling lives. Having a dull personality is probably the biggest stereotype surrounding the label accountant.



The professional world would not run the same way without accountants to smooth the process. Plus who wants to do their own taxes? Everyday they are relied upon by both their employers and their families. Half of accountants are reported to say they pursued the career the other half said they were drawn into it, and seven out of ten say they would not choose a different career if they could go back in time. It is true that accounting itself is very systematic and is not for everybody. This may be the cause for negative shades thrown toward accountants. A lack of understanding has always caused groups to be targeted and to the social norm numbers and systems do not seem fun, interesting, or useful. Also a large number of accounting scandals where CFO’s steal money from a company or the government have lead to a public view of immorality surrounding accountants. The fact of the matter is these few individuals represent the smallest portion of accountants and do not represent them as a whole. Even though the news may tell you different.



The media has had a slightly altering message toward accountants depending on where you look in time. There has been a transition from greedy professionals to unsocial work oriented machines. Only in recent years have accountants in movies been playing “good guys” and I believe it is due to media and news coverage. From within business professionals favor accountants and are eager to get them involved in business practices as much as possible while accountants see themselves as professionals with a purpose. Also, throughout my research I saw various videos and articles about accountants trying to demonstrate to the world they are humorous and normal people. Telling people not be scared of pursuing a career due to outside views.


Learning Moments:

In the first week we learned a lot of media manipulation and how information is misrepresented. One of the most important learning moments was early and it was about how to test information and how to find real information. This was clear in two of our course texts about astroturfing and filter bubbles. We are constantly observed online and get stuck seeing the same type of information no matter what sights we visit. This is a huge problem because information is not being passed freely. Not only that there is astroturfing, which is where people go online to uptalk themselves or a product online and to bash those with other opinions in order to gain popularity or make money. Learning how to identify these people was essential to my research and process of finding good information.


My second learning moment comes from week 5 when we watched the Every Single Word video that played popular movies with all of the main and side roles played by minorities. It was shocking how little screentime people of color got to speak in movies I grew up loving. Seeing the lack of representation in the media was a huge eye opener, and when they were on screen they often played into stereotypes surrounding their and (or) gender.

Works Cited:

5 Surprising Facts About the Accounting Profession. (2016, September 13). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from


  1. (2015, March 13). Accountants Talk About Their Dreams. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from


Daniels, G. (Writer). (n.d.). The Office [Television series]. Netflix.


Felton, S., Dimnik, T., & Bay, D. (2007). Perceptions of Accountants’ Ethics: Evidence from Their Portrayal in Cinema. Journal of Business Ethics, 83(2), 217-232. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9613-z


  1. L. (217, January 6). Portland State University – Single Sign-On. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from


Rhode, J. G. (1971, October). The Accountant’s Stereotype: Real or Imagined, Deserved or Unwarranted. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from
O’Connor, G. (Director). (2016, October 14). The Accountant [Video file]. Retrieved October 20, 2016.

The Horrors of Horror: How women are misrepresented in Hollywood Horror Films


Since the beginning of Hollywood film women have been misrepresented in all aspects and genres of the film industry. According to Variety Magazine in 2015, “Women comprised 13% of directors on the top 700 films, but just 7% on the top 250 films. They made up 13% of writers on the top 700 films, and 11% on the top 250 films. And 27% of producers on the top 700 films were female, while 23% on the top 250 films were female. And women accounted for 9% of cinematographers on the top 700 films, but 5% of cinematographers on the top 250 pictures. The number of female editors stayed consistent at 18% in both test samples.” As a female who wants to enter into the film industry as a director and producer this directly affects me and my plans for the future. These statistics show how misrepresented women are in the behind the scenes jobs in the film industry, but what about the actresses.

There is a much more equal ration of men to women in the acting community than in the production community, but the problem is how they are being represented in the films they act in. This can be seen in almost every hour movie you can think of. Women are highly misrepresented in horror films as several different tropes such as the damsel in distress, the demon seductress/demon host, and the saved virgin.

Horror films:

People all across the world love horror films and people all across the world hate horror films. Horror films only appeal to those who aren’t faint hearted, due to the disgust, suspense, or anxiety that these films can cause people to feel. Regardless of the people who don’t like horror films, there are millions of people who love them. And women play a huge role in the horror industry, so much so that the month of February has been declared Women in Horror Month. “Which is dedicated to recognizing women in the horror film industry. As with all film, women behind- and on-screen are woefully under-represented. This is probably because, according to a recent report, women are less likely to work in the action, horror, and sci-fi genres” (Frelang). Women are less likely, but name for me a horror film that doesn’t include a female actress or that has the connotation that women are somehow involved (typically as the reason for the issue). To me the issue isn’t the number of women working as actresses in the horror film industry, to me the issue is how those women are represented. 

Types of Women in Horror:

When you watch a movie like Psycho for example the women are the victims of Norman Bates, but even if none of the female victims appeared in the film we still know that his mother was one of the reasons he developed into a killer. Women can play several different types of people in horror films and that’s what I plan on discussing in this post.

The Damsel in Distress:

The most recognizable misrepresentation of women in horror films is the damsel in distress. The damsel in distress character portrays women as weak and inferior to men, in the aspects of intelligence and strength. This character portrays women as these objects that are owned, wanted, and in need of rescuing. For example, in all three movies of the Scream franchise the main character Sidney is the damsel in distress. She is in constant state of panic and fear and is always saved or assisted at the end of the film by someone, typically by a man. 

The Evil Demon Seductress or Demon Host

The Evil Demon Seductress can be see in an endless amount of films and TV shows. Typically this is a woman who becomes possessed by a demon and uses her new found confidence and sexuality to get what she wants or it can be woman who is temporarily convinced to do bad things. Then comes the demon host, who is a woman that has become pregnant with a “demonic” entity or has one embedded deep in her subconscious. Both types can be seen in the popular TV show American Horror Story (AHS). In each season of AHS women are portrayed as either one or both of these characters. In season one, the mother becomes pregnant with the antichrist, season two, one of the nuns becomes possessed by a demon, season three showcases a clan of witches who sometimes do awful things due to fits of rage or convincing from outside sources, season five showcases a strong female vampire like creature, and season six has both a demonic woman who can control the minds of others and woman who get possessed by her. The only season that doesn’t showcase theses identities is season four, becauses it doesn’t deal as much into the supernatural.

The Saved Virgin:

In a majority of slasher films, you can see the layout of the types of people in the film. Such as the athlete, the sexual being, the fool, the intellectual, and the virgin. These characters typically die in this order or in a close version of this order, but the virgin normally survives. This can be seen countless times in films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. What do these films have in common? They are all slasher movies, that have a male killer that finds the female virgin to be to innocent for them to kill. One of my favorite representations of this type of character and kill list is the film Cabin in the Woods, released in 2011. This film makes fun of the idea of a kill list and even the idea of the “virgin” in slasher films. Cabin in the Woods uses this idiotic way of identifying characters to make a sort of satire horror film that still succeeds at scaring its viewers.

Combination of types;

Even though it is easy to identify the women in films that play these specific roles, the reality is that most women in films can play multiple of these roles if not all of them. “Horror films, and the slasher subgenre, are famous for portraying women as hypersexual damsels in distress who are usually murdered within the first five minutes as punishment for their indiscretions…”(Guenther). This quote is just one example that shows that women can play multiple of these types. An example of the women this quote is describing is the Sexual character in Cabin in the Woods, because she is seen at the beginning of the film as being a very sexual character but when it come to her kill scene, which is the first, she is seen as both the sexual character because she is nude and the damsel in distress because she needs her boyfriend to save her. 


Women are highly misrepresented in the horror film industry. Some arguments to why include that showcasing women as these types of characters allows men to see them in this light, especially the demonic seductress and victim role. Due to the fact that men can look at the women playing the seductress, acknowledge her looks, but still hate her in the end. Then when it comes to the victim role this allows men to see women as incapable of helping themselves. “Horror film is far more victim-identified than the standard view would have it,” the camera often tracking what is structurally (and usually literally) a female perspective and inviting the male spectator to inhabit that perspective…this experience might indeed be pleasurable for the male spectator, raising questions about film theory’s conventional assumption that the cinematic apparatus is organized around the experience of a mastering, voyeuristic gaze” (Hurley).  This quote came from a Women’s Studies journal and is saying that by putting women in these roles it feeds the stereotypes and allows the Voyeuristic gaze to continue on in cinema. 

Learning Moment:

While in this class I have learned a lot about myself personally. Having to do this blog post that relates to one of my identities helped me narrow down the aspects of the female filmmaker identity I can relate closest with. I have come to realize that I am very interested in working in the horror genre of film and that when I get to that point in my life I would like to switch up what is considered normal in the horror film industry. When I make horror films I want the female actresses to represent how women actually are, not the stereotypes that society places on us.


Hurley, Kelly. “Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, by Clover, Carol J.” Women’s Studies: an Interdisciplinary Journal 45.8 (2016): 805-08. PSU Library. Web.

“Women’s roles in horror films.” UWIRE Text, 4 Nov. 2013, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete, 

Freleng, Maggie. “Pretty Bloody: Women and Stereotypes in Horror Movies.” VitaminW. N.p., 20 Feb. 2014. Web.

Lang, Brent. “Women Comprise 7% of Directors on Top 250 Films (Study).” Variety. N.p., 27 Oct. 2015. Web.

The Cabin in the Woods. Dir. Drew Goddard. Perf. Kirstin Connelly and Fran Kranz. The Cabin in the Woods. N.p., n.d.

Scream. Dir. Wes Craven. Perf. Neve Campbell. Scream. N.p., n.d. 

American Horror Story. By Ryan Murphy. Perf. Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson. American Horror Story. N.p., n.d.

Otakus are Who?

An otaku is a term originated in Japan for a person who has an interest in Japanese popular culture mainly focusing on interests in Japanese comics, video games, and animations. This word is usually associated with the American term as a “nerd” or “geek,” however this word isn’t really known in western countries because it was first established in Japan, a country from the far east. Those who know or is familiar with this term are usually otakus themselves or are familiar with activities relating to otakus. I’ve noticed that otakus have been minimally represented in western popular culture media. When some people hear “otaku” they think of a weird, antisocial, obsessive male who loves computers, anime, manga, or video games. Within the limited media representations encountered, I’ve noticed that media have been depicting several stereotypical issues associated to an otaku: they are men, they are considered abnormal, and they have personal problems or issues.

Heroes & The Big Bang Theory

One of the depictions is that otakus have been mainly represented as male. The American NBC TV show called “Heroes” nicely exhibits this observation. This TV show is about people around the world that have superpowers, it mainly focuses on how those people manage their powers and how they prevent calamities from developing. In the first episode of the series, they introduced an ordinary Japanese office worker and otaku named Hiro Nakamura as one of the characters who discovered his superhuman powers. In this TV show, they used a male to represent an otaku from Japan. I found this inaccurate because according to an article by Morikawa, “although otaku generally brings to mind a male figure, more than half the otaku population in Japan is female.”  Using a male to represent an otaku does not precisely exemplify women otakus in Japan but also shows gender inequalities for otakus in media.

Also, a clip from the American TV show “The Big Bang Theory” by  Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady also showed an example of the majority of men being otakus compared to women. In the clip, Sheldon corrects Penny that they are watching anime, which is not a cartoon. It also displayed Sheldon and Leonard as the otakus because they are knowledgeable about what they are watching and based on their facial expressions, only Penny’s face looked as if she was very confused with what they were watching. After Sheldon’s explanation that it was not a cartoon, Penny changes the subject by saying she knew a girl named Anna May. This clip illustrates that men are mostly represented as otakus because the two men in the short clip were the ones who knew more about what they were watching while Penny, the only girl, was very puzzled by it and instead changes the topic to something that she did know more about.

Train Man

Another is that in media, they perceive otakus as “abnormal.” The Japanese movie “Train Man” is a true story about an antisocial otaku man, Train Man, who falls in love with a normal girl, Hermes, after saving her from a drunk man on the train. Throughout the movie, it showed scenes where they distinguished Train Man and Hermes. For example, in scenes with Train Man, it showed his crowded room with all his collectible figurines, manga, and posters of anime. Meanwhile, in scenes with Hermes, it showed her room which looks like a normal western style bedroom you would see in furniture advertisements. The movie definitely emphasizes how “different” Train Man is compared to a normal person because he is an otaku. However, according to a study by Andreas Welin, “With what’s considered to be otaku interests spreading and taking root geographically (e.g. Akihabara) especially after the turn of the millennium, one could argue that otaku became less abnormal (in lieu of “more normal”) in the media, and gradually accepted as a natural part of the Japanese society.” It is stereotypical that otakus are considered “abnormal” however, in reality, otakus are not completely generalized as abnormal.

Another thing I noticed was that media also shows otakus with having personal problems or issues. In the movie Train Man, it also showed Train Man as an antisocial person who seemed nervous every time he went out in public and would stutter whenever he talked to anyone. Morikawa noted that “as these obsessive adolescents became noticeably absorbed in anime, the medium itself was associated with people who had poor interpersonal skills.” With this, it gives a generalization that otakus seem to have an association with having personal issues. Also, Train Man’s friends that he talks to were only online people, hence, “the otaku are socially inept although but enjoy socializing with others via the Internet.” (Niu et al.) Which also shows how otakus struggle with being sociable people. However, in a news video by called “Cosplay fans flock to Wisconsin’s largest anime event” by Julie Collins talks about the recent event at the time of the anime convention called Anime Milwaukee in Wisconsin. The reporter mentioned that one of the attendees, Annie Zappie, said that going out to an anime convention and engaging in cosplay has boosted her confidence. This demonstrates that not all otakus have personal problems or issues.


There are many stereotypical representations of an otaku that are mostly shown in a negative light. These forms of popular culture media artifacts chosen to be analyzed, mostly focus on stereotypes of gender inequality, abnormality, and having personal problems or issues. These stereotypes may be misleading, so we should be careful not to conclude based on those generalizations. Popular culture media may frequently illustrate stereotypical ideas, however, they are not always true and we should realize that these generalizations may shape the identity we are labeled with, but we ourselves form the identity we want to be a part of.


Significant Learning Moments

I’ve learned that in popular culture media, our identities have been represented differently or sometimes inaccurately. For example, when reading through some of the group discussions, someone mentioned that in movies that portrayed Vietnamese people, they would cast other Asians to play that role. I thought the study “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014” by students and professors at USC was really informative on minority representations in films too. This relates to what I’ve learned in the past because I learned that minorities are also outnumbered in different kinds of ways. Knowing this I can see if there is an evolution in our media or film to see if there any changes compared to the past.  Another thing I learned was that news media seems to hide certain details or doesn’t include the most important information when they broadcast the news. From the article we read from one of our required course texts: “News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions” by Patricia Hynds, it definitely helped me learned about what questions to consider to know if I’m getting the whole story or not. This was really insightful because there are some questions that I don’t even keep in mind when I read or watch news stories such as the question “Are exaggerated or rhetorical claims reported uncritically without journalistic scrutiny?” Now that I know some questions to ask when I see or listen to the news, I can do that to the future news stories and see if I am actually getting the whole story.

Works cited

Collins, Julie. ““It’s Been a Really Busy Con:” Cosplay Fans Flock to Wisconsin’s Largest Anime Event.” Fox6now, 14 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

Densha Otoko. Dir. Shosuke Murakami. Perf. Takayuki Yamada and Miki Nakatani. Toho Company, 2005.

Hammer, Dennis, Allan Arkush, Greg Beeman, and Matt Shakman, prods. “Heroes.” Heroes. NBC. 25 Sept. 2006. Television.

Kaichiro, M. & Washburn, D. “おたく Otaku/Geek.” Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol. 25 no. 25, 2013, pp. 56-66. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/roj.2013.0002

Niu, H.-J., Chiang, Y.-S. and Tsai, H.-T. (2012), “An Exploratory Study of the Otaku Adolescent Consumer.” Psychol. Mark., 29: 712–725. doi:10.1002/mar.20558

“Sheldon Cooper – It’s Not A Cartoon, It’s Anime.” YouTube. YouTube, 01 Aug. 2013

Welin, Andreas. “The Meaning and Image of Otaku in Japanese Society, and Its Change over Time.” The Meaning and Image of Otaku in (2013): n. pag. Web.

American Identity

I started researching the American identity back in January when I began my University Studies class at Portland State University. Our focus in the class was popular culture and one of the big questions that we were tackling had to do with the connection between popular culture and its effect on identities. We started the discussion by making a list of different labels that we associated our identity with. One of the main labels on my list was “American,” and I began to ponder what exactly it meant to be an American–especially in the current political and social situation of the United States. From there, I began questioning how the image of an American was perceived in popular culture. Even just perusing the internet for memes about Americans and the United States, a general consensus of fat, flag-bearing, obnoxious, and overindulgent people dominated the screen. I felt like my identity of being an American was somehow lost in all these images, and I worried that people from other countries would not even know that there were Americans that weren’t like this. I decided that the American identity was not made up of just one type of person, even though that’s how it appears. Instead, there needs to be a shift in how Americans are shown in the media because there is too much of a beautiful diversity of personalities, races, and beliefs that make up the American identity to be boiled down to only a few “types” or labels.

One of the first artifacts of popular culture that I decided to analyze how Americans were portrayed was the television show, The Secret Life of an American Teenager. In this show, the main character, Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) discovers that she is pregnant at only fifteen years old. The biggest thing I notice about The Secret Life of the American Teenager is that it is a show with relatable characters and relatable settings—especially for teenagers, which are the primary audience. At a first glance, the characters and types of people that are represented in the show appear to be fairly diverse. However, the types of people are slightly stereotypical when it comes to high school-aged characters in the high school setting. There’s the cool heartthrob, the gorgeous cheerleader, the band geek, the best friends, the love interest…the list goes on and on. However, these stereotypical characters have one thing that separates them from others: they all have a secret side that you originally wouldn’t have thought of.

A reoccurring theme in the show is the desire that the teenagers have for sex. At first, I wanted to accept this message that the show was giving off—that all American teenagers are thirsty for sex and some of them will do whatever it takes to have it. However, as I thought about it more, I started to ask myself if this show had truth to it, or if it was distorting and lumping all types of teens into one category, and what I decided was that even though a show may be proclaiming a message, it doesn’t mean that Is the total truth for every “type” of person it represents. Often, this happens in American culture, where many people do things just because it is popular and everyone else is doing them. However, just because our society deems something as “normal” or “popular” doesn’t mean that those qualities are part of our identity. My identity, according to Preston King, “consists of an articulation of who and what I am, as perceived by myself and by others, and it most relevantly relates to some species of organization in which I am caught up, involuntarily and otherwise” (King 595). With so many individuals identifying themselves, it would be impossible to lump them all into one identity or group of identities. Thus, the American identity is, in fact, made up of many identities—it is far too diverse to be just one identity.

The second artifact that I studied was the 1962 film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This film is a spin on the classic Western, at the end of the Western era, with a play on nostalgia. The most obvious thing to notice about the film is the push and pull between the two types of men that are represented: John Wayne who plays the iconic, burly, masculine cowboy, and James Stewart who plays the educated, civilized lawyer. There is a tug between the way things used to be and the way things must become. The American identity that is represented in this film is incredibly old-fashioned and archaic. Despite this, we still see many of these ideas American identity in the media today. Women in distress, emotionally-absent men, and only the main characters are white people. Even when films and television try to be diverse, they are often criticized as not being so. The problem with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is that it tries to say that men are either one way or another, and women are one way or another—it is too black and white. An American is not just one way or another. There are far too many personalities, races, beliefs, and appearances for the American identity to be boiled down to one thing.

Our identities often feel like they are wrapped up in our gender and our beliefs about gender. I experienced this even when I attended my first hall meeting in the PSU housing. We all went around introducing ourselves, and part of what we told others about ourselves was our pronouns. She, he, him her, etc. It is quite interesting that we find a need to explain these types of things about ourselves to people, and it is all wrapped up in our identity. It matters to us that we present ourselves correctly to the rest of the world. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, both the John Wayne character and the James Stewart character loudly show who they are not only through their actions, but also in the things they say. Their identities are wrapped up in how the people around them perceive them, and they must fight to showcase who they are.

This goes right along with what Schildkraut determines as American “ideals.” She writes that some of the main American ideals that we associate with the American identity are “individualism, the notion and promise of hard work, freedom, equality, and the rule of law” (Schildkraut 442). All of these are present in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I believe these are still present in our society today—these are even things that we are taught in school growing up.

The third artifact that I studied was the song, “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen. The song talks about the pointlessness of the Vietnam war effort, and this is something that seems to have stuck with all the wars following. People have not had the same reaction towards war since then. The feeling that the general public had in the United States towards the First and Second World Wars was quite different than the Vietnam War. There was a major shift in how veterans and war were viewed from that moment on. This song also has an interesting contrast between the chorus and the verses. The chorus seems to boast pride in the country we are born in—a sense of nationalism—while the verses seem to lament what has become of the Americans who had gone off to war. I think this contrast is very relevant to our situation today where many people are not proud to be American due to the political and social unrest that is going on.×600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1343227-1365373608-1010.jpeg.jpg

If our country is divided about almost everything, and people do not agree with how the country is being run—the president as a figurehead for example—it is hard to be behind our country when we don’t know where it stands. However, I think that we should be upholding the ideals of our country—which would mean we would have to revisit what America is all about—and be proud to be an American. What holds our nation together, Starr writes, “is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional—what makes us American—is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Starr 21). Being an American shouldn’t be divisive, it should be inclusive. It should be a united movement. It should be people coming together with the dream of being who they are and lifting up and encouraging everyone to be who they are. Thus, there should be many “American identities” because there are many different people, but each and every one of those identities should hold the same amount of validity, honor, and strength as another.

What I have decided is that my identity as American is almost whatever I want it to be. That is the beautiful thing about being an American—I hopefully have a choice to be who I want, do what I want, and fight for what I believe in. King also writes that many “identities, at the ethnic or national level, are ‘American’, not one of them can confirm or supply any universal or abstract instantiation of Americanness” (King 619). Therefore, my American identity cannot be another person’s American identity. I want to live my life being mindful of that—to view every person I encounter with as much grace and empathy as I would want to receive. I don’t know circumstances of people’s lives that have made them who they are. All I know is that we are all important and valuable and unique—and even though it doesn’t seem like it most of the time, our country is a pretty good place to live out those ideals.


Works Cited:

King, Preston. “Being American (Politics of Identity – XI ). (Author Abstract)(Report).” Government and Opposition 42.4 (2007): 593. Web.

Schildkraut, Deborah J. “Boundaries of American Identity: Evolving Understandings of ‘Us.’” Annual Review of Political Science 17: 441-460 (2014). Web.

Starr, Paul. “Who Are We Americans Now? And Who Will We Become Under Trump?” American Prospect 28.1 (2017): 18-23. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Raves, Heavy Beats and Heavy Drugs

Beverly Frisk

Daneen Bergland

SINQ Pop Culture


Big Picture Blog Post

Ravers, I myself included, are a loving, accepting, and diverse community founded in the 1990s that has since grown into a international, multicultural, musical phenomenon sweeping the world with thumping sounds and laser lights. When you first arrive at a rave festival, your eyes are completely overwhelmed with a shining and shimmering sea of colorful pulsating people rocking to and fro to a climbing, bumping beat. As with many things in nature, this beautiful scene can turn deadly, from overdoses to dehydration causing attendees to literally overheat from the inside due to certain drugs that they smuggle in. They’ll tuck it in hats, hair, wherever, and its caused tightened security and a sense of tension both for the event teams and sober attendees as well. Some events even force patrons to take all hair ties out, and the entrance looks more like TSA than the entrance to a music festival. As a raver, I have seen these complex relations first hand, and want to demystify this issue as well as learn more about it for myself in order to help make these events safer and better understand why people take drugs there in the first place.

“XOXO” is a newer film all about a festival showing a stereotypical depiction of ravers and festival attendees from the modern generation amongst other films covering the topic as well as any news stories covering rave drug usage and scientific statistical studies and correlational studies as well. This is the image that the average viewer would see and make generalizations from about what rave culture is like, even though it is a fictional narrative. It does a good job of showing all different types of ravers attending the event for all different emotional and motivational reasons, but it also highlights drug use as a bigger part of raves, which is seen by many as a self-perpetuation of drug use amongst this community. That means that by making films like “XOXO”, that are supposed to tell tales of love and excitement, people who appreciate and monetize off of these events are only further promoting the drug use within them, both intentionally and unintentionally.

Through researching both “XOXO” and a non-fiction documentary, “Pretty Lights: A Look Inside Rave Culture” I have come to find that outsider views and insider views, both of ravers and communities in general can have a wide variance, and so it’s important for the insiders to be willing to open up, and the outsiders to be good listeners and not act condescending towards what ever the insiders are doing. This puts up a communicative wall that is hard to get past once it is set. Outsiders may not even be aware that they put up these walls in the first place, so it is important to be open and honest in situations where one group is trying to understand and help another.

Watching “Pretty Lights: A Look Inside Rave Culture”, I get the sense that raves began with a lot more anti-establishment ideals than the music festivals we see today, that have heavy security to minimize misbehavior and drug abuse that once was the calling card of all warehouse raves, the origins of the rave. The raver girls they focused on used everything from ketamine to ecstasy, and one even used meth when she didn’t feel enough of a fix from other drugs. This is an older film depicting raves when they first began, and shows how a lot of the culture was founded on heavy drug use, despite some attendees just going to dance and have a good time. Even as a sober attendee, one is surrounded by drugs at a rave, and this in itself can be dangerous and lead to problems for anybody involved.

An example of a communicative wall in rave culture is that when people do drugs at these events and have adverse reactions, they tend to not tell law enforcement or people that could help them stay safe and end up dying because they believe they will be incriminated if they do open up about whatever drug they took. I understand both sides, I would hate to be arrested for something like that, but people’s safety should come above all else at these events, and I believe the community as a whole needs to push for more advocacy of this so that the event itself can be enjoyed.

Ravers are taught to be afraid and avoid law enforcement, but this is a bad habit, because the minute someone overdoses or needs help, onlookers tend to keep quiet while watching someone fall ill, or even die because they themselves are afraid of being caught with drugs. An exhibit of this fear can be seen in a comedic Sony CD Player commercial, where the cops are patrolling for ravers, but they are sneaky and plug their music into CD players to avoid the police. This is a dangerous cat and mouse game, as the law enforcement is only looking out for their best interest, but the drug-using ravers don’t really see it that way. During the term when we were analyzing commercials in class I realized just how much advertisements can affect our culture and how we perceive it and so I thought it was important to include an advertisement about rave behaviors to look at it from a pop culture perspective and see how outsiders might visualize ravers in those situations.

After getting feedback on my research analysis, one thing discussed was “risky behavior” and I think that occurs both at raves and beyond. I don’t think that certain drugs when taken responsibly are very risky at all, an example being recreational marijuana which has been legalized in Oregon. However, I think that many ravers, being influenced by this culture of intensity, and taking things like music and dancing to “the next level” as many of them term it, want to take their alterations of consciousness to the “the next level”. They tend to search out stimulants as their drugs of choice, and one can see how this would give them the feeling of being on that “next level”  which can be unsafe and ultimately in a high activity atmosphere like a rave because they sweat a lot, get dehydrated, and pass out. I was thinking of covering how they dress as well, but I want to mainly focus on drug use for the sake of simplicity and covering what I want to cover with that. In the future it would be interesting as an anthropological project of sorts to take into account all aspects of rave culture and indulgence at raves and how that effects the people that attend them, but for now I will stick to discussing the effects of drugs primarily (Knopper).

I also looked into the history and origins of raves in my research, and how the drug culture within them evolved alongside the music itself as well as the people attending and where they came from, as well as what drove them to these events in wide-eyed, jumpy, intense flocks. The raves of today are very different from their ancestral warehouse beginnings surely, now people will shell out thousands of dollars on dazzling outfits, VIP tickets, and many other amusing wares that this community now has to offer. It is almost a different thing, but in the end the music ties it all together as rave culture, both then and now. The drug of choice by ravers when they first created the movement in response to many things, one being the former conservative political scene, was ecstasy, which although it induces euphoria and uplifting feelings that would match the mood being set by the undulating, driving beats, is dangerous nonetheless. It can cause seizures, dehydration, and death in many cases (Anderson).

I first hand saw a raver faint and being carried out on a stretcher at Mad Decent Block Party, a rave in Eugene, and it was mortifying. It was my second rave and the atmosphere change was almost instant from the moment people surrounding heard a body thud to the ground. People were scared. I myself don’t do hard drugs at these events, and that experience only further repulsed me from doing so. I still like to know about what drugs exist and what new ones appear to keep friends and strangers alike safe especially if they need first aid so I think that it should be a topic that both drug users and non-users are educated on and made aware of.

I plan on using this research I’ve gathered to further encourage people to research the groups they belong to and delve into the good and bad in order to better serve and protect the group and really see if it something that they want to be associated with. Both researching the influence of advertisements and about Hollywood movies allowed me to connect those media artifacts to my subject of research in a way that I saw fit to my own personal experience. This course helped me uncover the many different ways that media, culture, and our personal lives are intermingled, and so I took that idea and applied it to a community I truly care about and want to improve in terms of safety and enjoyability.

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, Tammy L. Rave culture the alteration and decline of a Philadelphia music scene. Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 2009. Print. Although this source is a bit older, it is still relatable to my research and the modern day rave culture, and it offers good insight into the origins of raves, and the drug culture within them, and how the two developed into huge festivals, the transition of drug users switching from X to Molly (both a form of MDMA, stimulants), and much more on old rave beginnings. For me as a modern raver this resource is important because I don’t know a ton about the very first raves, and how people interacted in this community when it was founded, which this book talks about. It talks about also how raves originally were grassroots, word of mouth even, and I think comparing that to today’s huge semi-corporate multi-day festivals where peer pressure to do drugs has increased, even while the drug use itself has decreased, only slightly however. This is a legitimate and reliable source because it is from the PSU library and written by an accredited assistant professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at University of Delaware. I think because she is involved in the criminal side academically however, this will be important to take into account as there may be some bias potential there.
  1. Pretty colors : Inside America’s rave culture. Films for the Humanities – Princeton , 2000. Web. This film is a film I found using the PSU Library Online Database, and it is available online with PSU login. I think it will be a helpful narrative as it was developed for the Films for the Humanities group at Princeton and offers insight into two girl’s experiences with raves, what causes them to be infatuated with the music, pretty lights, and drugs that surround this community at festivals and the rave scene. It is from a more psychological perspective as well, and because I am searching for drug-rave correlation, it is important to understand the different states of mind that ravers experience and want to achieve, with and without drugs. Because it is a film, I won’t be citing it as an academic resource but rather as a commentary on the situations that are possible in the rave scene, as that is what it presents. I didn’t find any information on the actresses directly on the database page it is on, so I will have to search for that information, but relatively this is a good source overall, and helps create a visual for what I am trying to capture in my research.
  1. Knopper, Steve . “Drugs, Death, and Dance Music.” Rolling Stones Magazine 11 Sept. 2013: n. page. Print. I picked this source, because it is a secondary source from a reputable magazine that does hundreds of intellectual articles on musicians, their lives, and concerts. It opens up the idea that all concerts and events have the potential for drug abuse and raves/music festivals shouldn’t be the only genre/type of event that is generalized as the “drug scene” of the music world. This source relates well to my research because it was one of the first sources I could find that actually questioned the notion of raves being the biggest drug hotspot in music, all of the other articles I’ve been finding go in with the generalization that raves and drugs are inseparable. My main goal with my paper is to establish that although drugs have, and may always be in the rave culture, it doesn’t have to be the defining characteristic of that community, which has a lot of good, non-drug related experiences to offer, many of which I’ve been involved in since high school and found a sense of community in. This source of course being a music editorial may have some positive bias, but I plan on pairing analysis of this and not so positive articles I find in my research. It talks about several overdoses that happened at Electric Zoo, a large-scale festival, and so knowing the darker effects of drugs on that community will be something that I can use this source to think about for my paper as well.
  1. Sony CD Players. Vimeo. N.p., n.d. Web. This ad is somewhat indicative to reality when raves first began. Public opinion wasn’t very high on raves, they were always flocked by cops waiting to bust the kids for noise, and drugs especially, only furthering the anti-establishment ideology that many ravers had at the time, leading to more rebellious behavior, including more drug use, to go against mainstream, showing that this form of hovering discipline can back fire in terms of preventing further misbehavior.
  1. XOXO. Dir. Christopher Louie. XOXO. Netflix, n.d. Web. XOXO is a fictional film depicting an aspiring DJ and his raver friends who try to make it big at a huge festival. It is relevant to my research as a primary source for how ravers are depicted in pop culture on a day to day basis, and is relatively recent, so it gives a good image of what modern day music festivals and modern raves look like compared to their 1990s ancestors. It shows all types of ravers, not just the type that are drugged out, so I believe it is a good, rounded view of what ravers are truly like.

The Identity of Female Artist in Popular Culture

As a female and an art major student, I chose to explore the identity of “female artist”. I have noticed that the great artists known by most people are usually male. I believe that most people, even if you are not an art major, have seen or heard of Mona Lisa, The Starry Night or The Scream, which were all painted by male artists. However, I think it would be hard for someone who’s not an art-related major to name an artwork before the 20th century that’s by a female, let alone the name of the female artist. To be honest, I didn’t even know more than two female artists (painters or animators) before college, and all of my favorite artists, directors and animators were all male. When I was little, I wanted to make animation but never had too much hope because I never heard of any female creators. As I entered college as an art major, I became more aware of the lack of female artists in the past and have been hoping that it would change in the future because it’s going to affect me on whether I can make money as a female artist or not. There are great female artists, but they just haven’t received as much recognition as Da Vinci or Andy Warhol, who have been famous even till now, and this led me to the question of whether there’s any difference between male artists and female artists that makes male’s art more famous than women’s art.

In the popular culture artifacts I found, female artists are portrayed in multiple ways and sometimes contradict with one another, and the artworks they make don’t really follow a certain stereotype. To be more specific, I think the depiction of female artists in popular culture varies from different time periods.

Big Eyes

In Tim Burton’s film, Big Eyes, it tells a true story of a female artist, Margaret Keane, in the late 50s and early 60s and how her husband claimed credit for her big eyes painting art. In the movie, Margaret Keane is portrayed as an obedient wife who never fought for her own art for many years, and because women’s art was still not taken seriously back then, Margaret Keane seemed to be a little unconfident sometimes. Despite the fact that Margaret Keane’s art was not recognized with her own name, the movie ends with Margaret Keane’s triumph on proving to the court and the public that she was the one who painted those big eyes paintings.

Brush with Greatness, The Simpsons

Marge Simpson drawing a portrait of Mr. Burns

In Brush with Greatness, an episode of the Simpsons in 1991, Marge Simpson revives her interest in art and starts to paint again. In the end of the episode, her painting is displayed in the gallery. In this episode, Marge is still portrayed as a caring wife and mother who stood out for Homer when he was insulted because of his weight.

I have heard people saying that female artists tend to be the ones who need to give up their dream when they get married because they have to take care of their children. However, not all of my artifacts match this stereotype. For example, in The Subterraneans, a film based on Jack Kerouac’s novel in the late 50s, it portrays a female artist character as free spirit and independent, but she did have to abandon her pursuit of art and became a wife in the end. But on the contrary, in my other artifacts I have mentioned above, Margaret Keane in Big Eyes uses her daughter as her inspiration, and Marge Simpson’s family really support her doing art in the episode.

I have also heard people saying that women’s art is too emotional and too feminine, but in my opinion, what artist isn’t emotional? As for feminine, I think it differs from person to person. For example, in Big Eyes, Margaret Keane’s art was not specifically described as feminine, but the movie did mention that children with big eyes wasn’t a typical theme to paint for a man. As for Marge Simpson, nobody said her art is too feminine, and all the paintings she did were all male figures like Ringo Starr, Homer Simpson and Mr. Burns. The stereotype of female art being too feminine could be true for the female artists in the past, and in a documentary, The Story of Women and Art, I watched, it explains that a part of the reason why women’s art being feminine is due to their lack of access to male models. Moreover, their art was seldom shown in the public because it was a virtue for women to hide their individuality in the past. Indeed, when it comes to art in the past, women’s involvement in art is usually not being an artist but being a model. In many paintings, muses are depicted as female, but I think it’s funny that people see muses as the source of art and creativity, but why isn’t there many famous female artists who are real in the past? They made art and were creative, and they were female, just like the muses. And this led me to my analysis in the next two paragraphs.


Another artifact I chose is the album cover of Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP. In the album cover designed by Jeff Koon, there is a nude sculpture of Lady Gaga with glimpse of Apollo (music) and Venus (muse) in the back. I feel like Lady Gaga is being portrayed as the muse of music. However, the depiction of Lady Gaga being nude led me to another artifact that speaks about the absent of female’s art in the museum.

It’s a poster made by the Guerrilla Girls, a feminist group. The poster shows a copy of Ingres’ painting, Grande Odalisque, a nude female portrait but her head replaced by a gorilla head. With a huge text of “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” in the poster as well, it says about most art with nude figures are female, yet art made by female artists can be rarely seen in the museum. The poster reflects that female artists need to be taken seriously as “artists”.

Before college, I don’t remember learning any female artists in the textbooks, and as I have mentioned above, I was worried about if I could become a successful artist since female artists in certain career fields were pretty rare, like animation creators, movie directors or film score composers, etc. However, I think it has been changing in the recent years since more and more female artists are becoming famous through the Internet. Another artifact I found was an interview with Rebecca Sugar, the creator of Steven Universe, who is also the first female creator in Cartoon Network. In the interview, Rebecca Sugar talks about how art will become more and more popular thanks to the Internet. In the past, the only way to present one’s artwork in the public is through the academy or the exhibition, which were mostly unavailable for women in the past. However, nowadays, people can upload their art online and make it public easily, which I think gives women opportunities to have their art known by more and more people.

In general, through exploring the identity of female artist, I found that there aren’t as many popular culture artifacts about female artists as there are for male artists, and I think this reflects how women’s art was not taken seriously in the past. However, I do believe that it’s going to change in the future that there will be more references of female artists in the popular culture. And I think it’s going to be interesting if I do this research project again after maybe 10 years!

From this class, I’ve learned how to analyze an artifact, no matter an article, a video or an image, with its details. And I think through this kind of method by noticing the contrast and the pattern gives a new perspective on how I would interpret the artifact. As for the weekly discussion and blog post, I think they’re helpful because we get to learn about how different identities portrayed in the popular culture, and at the same time, they keep us on track for the final project.


The Female Artist in the Film Version of Jack Kerouac’s “The Subterraneans”Wilson, Steve, Journal of Popular Film & Television; Washington, D. C.35.1 (Spring 2007): 38-44.(

The Story of Women and Art, Films Media Group, 2014, ( Accessed 19 Feb. 2017. Produced by DCD Rights Limited

Steven Universe, the First Cartoon Network Show Created Solely by a Woman, by Liz Ohanesian, Moday, November 4, 2014 at 9:19 a.m. LA Weekly,(

The Guerrilla Girls poster, by the Guerrilla Girls, (

Big Eyes (2014), directed by Tim Burton

Brush with Greatness- The Simpsons Season 2 Episode 18 (1991), written by Matt Groening

ARTPOP (Nov 6, 2013), cover designed by Jeff Koon


Millennial… Feminist… Sexuality… What’s it mean?

Laura Koch March 12th, 2017

Millennial… Feminist… Sexuality

In many of our current forms of popular culture, the millennial female has been identified and characterized by her sexuality. Throughout every influential medium, especially television and music culture, how these women define themselves as feminists is in direct correlation to their larger cultural representation. People such as Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Tomi Lahren are examples of people in the limelight who differ in how their sexuality is executed to the public. Through the various popular culture mediums, such as news coverage, music videos, and television, each medium works to serve a different purpose in how women define their sexuality. In my opinion, the concept of sexuality is personalized by the individual, where the identity of the term itself is not defined by the barriers that is presented to us in the media. By studying the discourse of influential figures in our popular culture, I believe we can reevaluate how we as a society judge, praise, or criticise the varying forms of sexual representation. Sexual identity is often disparaged in popular culture through the discussion on feminism. Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball, Lena Dunham’s Girls, and Tomi Lahren’s Final Thoughts, share the ability to express how a very specific type of female works to tell a different story.

Popular culture has bled into the average citizen’s life in an all consuming manner. This means that we see ourselves through the lens of a much broader category. For instance, the primary sources that I have chosen, are mass media products in which millions of people have seen. We do not watch these videos without our personal reflections in mind, meaning that we align ourselves with those same sexualized representations of the celebrity. What these celebrities are saying and doing are then reflected to their audiences in some form. Especially when looking at the millennial female, the idea of how feminism and sexuality work into our culture is analyzed through technology. Through technology and varying perceptions of both terms, creates a divisive stance on right and wrong, or feminist and anti-feminist. We have been bred and groomed alongside these public figures, like Miley Cyrus, Lena Dunham, and more recently Tomi Lahren. We see ourselves through them, and build our reality around what they create, how they are portrayed, how they portray themselves. Of course, this is not in everything that we do or that of who we are. Or is it? Not only the millennial female, but everyone who has been apart of this digital age is vulnerable to taking on these celebrity ideals because we have been trained to build our perceptions on and around it.

For instance, take Miley Cyrus’s music video Wrecking Ball, which has reached over 871,580,115 views in counting and follows one of the most famous female millennials in the world. The video epitomizes the synergistic world around the celebrity millennial female. In the most popular version in which the majority of the world has seen, Cyrus leaves very little to the imagination, or possibly a whole lot. The minimal environment and appearance is overshadowed by the expectation that we have for a millennial celebrity who was once the comedic family actress. I think Cyrus makes evident that the female life is messy, powerful, sexual, and sometimes gratuitously glorified. It is up to the individual, Miley Cyrus, to participate in the ideas around female sexuality and explore it in a way that attracts viewers while also completely discrediting the idea that you have to be a “lady” or you have to show just “enough” skin. I think the video also shows the multiple sides to Cyrus; she is both vulnerable and strong. Below is another picture from the music video. The first image depicts what a mass audience sees, while the second one, I think, shows “a” meaning behind the previous image.

Miley Cyrus. Outtakes.

Many interesting ideas were brought up in an article that pertains to female sexual agency. The foundation of Brady’s article is based on the findings around Miley Cyrus comparing Wrecking Ball to Sinead O’ Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U. This celebrity encounter created a feud between the two celebrities because Sinead publicly denounced that comparison because of Cyrus’s overtly sexual content, which in Sinead’s opinion, does not promote empowerment like her “respected” video does. Who is she to define empowerment and disparage Cyrus’s? Then again, who is she not to? The feud is then taken into a larger context and used to talk about celebrity culture that “draws on post-structuralist feminist theory to question the positioning of celebrity feminism as exterior to an imagined “feminist movement (Brady).”

This is important because there are competing ideals on how to represent feminism and what specific types of popular culture do more harm than good. In the eyes of many, the music industry is “parasitic” to female identity and makes specifically millennials think that they have to use nudity and sexualization to express empowerment. However, by saying that there is a right and a wrong in how celebrities and the industry work, we take the power away from those who choose to express their sexuality. Feminist liberation is a working topic that is criticized by shaming. An “emphasis on ‘choice’ as definitive of third-wave feminism (Brady),” is another important part of understanding how our culture works to represent us, giving the same opportunities to consumers of celebrity culture.

When analyzing Tomi Lahren as an example of millennial feminist, I would say that as a popular political figure who disparages the idea of feminism, her sexual representation in the media is constantly used to benefit her. Whether Lahren is aware of that persona, she is able to give a conservative opinion on how exclusively defining feminism is an issue. In an article written by Mike Wendling on anti-feminist Lahren, her ultra conservative reporting for Dallas’s The Blaze is significant. Lahren’s view on feminism brings up a lot of controversy because of her seemingly negative reaction to anything and everything that supports the movement in the public eye. Her popularity on social media has reached over millions of views. She is infamous for arguing against many liberal social issues, such as the Women’s March. After reading this article, I had a transformative learning moment, because it brought up a good point on Lahren’s videos. Wendling states that, “ on women’s issues she hits at a popular theme on the right these days, that feminism was in the past a laudable quest for equality but has been taken “too far” by campus radicals (Wendling).” Whether conservative, liberal, or democrat, Lahren’s influence over her audience has been a result of her ability to affect popular culture, while basking in her sexuality, whether she believes it or not. She questions the label “feminist” because of its arguably “confusing” definition.

The above picture is a snapshot from the scene titled, “We’re the Ladies” of HBO’s second season of Girls. In the very beginning stages of the series, audiences were just getting to know the characters of Hannah, Shoshanna, Jessa, and Marnie. At first, our opinions of these fascinating and dynamic females were built on the stereotypes that existed pretty heavily around the millennial female identity. Prior to the air of Girls on HBO, these sort of honest female characters did not exist. Girls explores the concepts of millennial female identity by exploring the girl’s differences in their sexuality, emphasizing the idea that not every girl resonates with the female label of a lady. More importantly so, the show explores what previous generations have been unable to see on their television shows.

Comparatively, to shows such as Sex in the City, Girls is a revolutionary story that takes apart stereotypical terms to redefine how people think of post feminism and new feminism ideals. For instance, the picture from the scene above the characters are talking about who identifies as a “lady” (Shoshanna) and who is negates the term (Jessa).There is a re-establishing of cultural norms that takes place in the show by satirizing itself. As stated in the article, “By reflexively questioning and challenging its influences from earlier generations of second wave feminism and post-feminism, we argue that Girls allows for a re-articulation and re-mobilisation of post-feminism for a millennial generation (Nash).” The article also suggests how these earlier generations led millennials to speak out on how we want to be represented.

This is an extension of many of the points that I am bringing up in my essay because it accurately delves into taboo discussions on sexuality and feminism in popular culture. This is crucial in creating a conversation for the differences in millennial female representation throughout our culture as a whole. The expectation for women to be portrayed as sexual human beings is a part of the post feminism motive. Girls is both aware of this and uses it for both the show’s advantage, and the audience’s learning. This gives women the power to define and redefine their existence through their own input on how sexuality is seen in popular culture.

When researching traits that I identify with, I had to think of these markers in regards to an idea that is much bigger than myself. It is interesting to think of oneself on a more global scale and how that reflects into a broader and more generalized version. By researching the “millennial female,” and how popular culture portrays this specific type of person in the media, I found that the term is not so specific. Instead, it made me come to the conclusion that even if you align yourself with a certain identity traits, such a feminist, there a varying definitions and perceptions that make its meaning personal. Mostly, if not always, when the millennial female is on screen, her identity is categorized and explored through her sexuality. Whether that is by the means of conversation or synergistically, it is always present. I personally see this as a more positive than negative part of our culture because we have many strong women who are creating content that speaks up and speaks out. The conversation through the content discussed above in turn expresses personal sexuality; giving a voice to those who are watching and to those who have their stage.

Work Cited

Brady, Anita. Taking time between g-string changes to educate ourselves: Sinéad O’Connor, Miley Cyrus, and celebrity feminism. 8 May 2016. Web. Accessed 17 Feb 2016 < =top&needAccess=true >

Nash, Meredith. Twenty-Something Girls v. Thirty-Something Sex And The City Women
Paving the way for “post? feminism” 17 June 2016. Web. Accessed February 2017. < l=top&needAccess=true >

Wendling, Mike. BBC News. Tomi Lahren: the young Republican who’s bigger than Trump on Facebook. 30 November 2016. Web. Accessed February 2017. < >

Professional Women on the Big Screen


“You can’t have your cake and eat it too” seems to be the mantra for Hollywood’s directors and producers depicting professional women on the big screen. I was raised in a single-parent household. My mother emphasized the importance of academic achievements, career mindfulness and being financially independent. I was never told women would eventually have to choose between romantic relationships or a career; that success would bring inevitable emotional despair. I wholeheartedly believe women can achieve professional success while maintaining a healthy balance between their profession and their private lives, but apparently, Hollywood doesn’t agree. In movies, success comes at a price, often, of a personal nature.

When a successful career woman is depicted on screen, she’s usually a miserable bore, with too much book sense and not enough common sense. She’s humorless, feared by her subordinates and disliked by her co-workers. She’s most likely “too busy” to date, probably has never been married, or has gotten divorced, and doesn’t have a maternal bone in her body. She dresses in muted colors, hairstyle is immaculate, rocks dangerously high heels and a cellphone is permanently glued to her hand. Her work is her life, her private life takes a back seat or is altogether non-existent. I used to believe that all exposure was good exposure. In cases like these, depictions of professional female characters on screen do more harm than good. 1) It strengthens the stereotype that women are not successful leaders. 2) It reinforces the belief that being true to yourself, and taking pride in your accomplishments is not enough to secure a romantic partner. 3) You MUST secure a partner!

I decided to explore 3 movies depicting professional women. “The Proposal”, “Jurassic World”, and “Ghostbusters” (2016). To explore these representations further, I set out to answer a few questions; What do these representations have in common?  How are the different?  Who oversaw these creative decisions? Last but not least, does the target audience influence representations? I will also be including whether these movies passed the Bechdel Test, which is a way of evaluating whether a film or other work of fiction portrays women in a way that is sexist or characterized by gender stereotyping. To pass the Bechdel test a work must feature at least two women, these women must talk to each other, and their conversation must concern something other than a man. [1]

Let’s run through the movies’ sequence of events. Warning, spoilers ahead.

The Proposal
Margaret [Sandra Bullock] is a publishing executive. She dresses sharp; dark colors, pencil skirts, ponytail, 6’ heels. She’s great at her job, and multiple characters allude to her best in the business. She’s in her early 40’s, not married, no children, and no family. Even though she’s successful in her career, her co-workers seem to be terrified of her. She has a reputation of being ruthless and humorless. She fires a subordinate when he fails to meet her standards. Irate, he calls her a “bitch”, but she seems unfazed and embarrasses him with her response. Margaret is consumed by her work, so much that she forgets to make it to her immigration appointments, which results in her visa expiring. She bribes her assistant to marry her to stay in the country.

Andrew [Ryan Reynolds] is her condemned assistant. He is younger, good looking, funny, and quick witted. They travel to Alaska to attend a family reunion, and inform them of the upcoming nuptials. His family welcomes her and suggest they have the wedding there. She beings to bond with him and his family, and her demeanor changes. She loses her heels, and her cell phone, wears jeans and a sweater. She realizes that love is what she has been missing from her life. Margaret falls for her assistant, and decides to let him off the hook.  He falls for the “new” version of her, and they end up together.

Power suit/Heels? Check.  Humorless/stiff? Check.  Single/no kids? Check.

Margaret is a career driven, strong character, but instead of being respected, much like she would be if her character was male, she’s feared.  Everyone around her walks on eggshells, because apparently, you can’t be the Boss without being another B word too.  The movie highlights how her cold and calculating demeanor has served her well career-wise, but puts off prospective partners. The movie makes the assertion that a woman’s life is not complete without a romantic interest, and she’s responsible for changing to a more approachable version of herself in order to attract a mate. She only becomes attractive after her character is softened.

-The Proposal did not pass the Bechdel test.-


Jurassic World
Claire [Bryce Dallas Howard] is the operation’s manager for Jurassic World, a resort that offers tours and shows of cloned dinosaurs. She’s very successful and very busy, we know this because she’s always on her phone. She’s dressed in a muted color suit, her hair and makeup are immaculate, and she wears really high heels, even when being chased by dinosaurs. Just like Margaret, her work keeps her so busy that has forgotten her nephews were visiting her that day. Claire quickly hands them off to her assistant when they arrive, setting the stage to showcase she’s not maternal. She’s awkward around her nephews, yet there’s a scene where she looks at a baby longingly. Claire is tasked to recruit Owen [Chris Pratt], current Raptor trainer, to evaluate the paddock of the park’s new hybrid dinosaur.

Her co-star is charming, smart and witty. He lives “off the grid”, rides a motorcycle, and makes it clear that her serious personality is the reason why he didn’t ask her on a second date. The new hybrid dinosaur escapes his enclosure, and Owen is tasked by the park’s owner to find it. Claire follows Owen to find her nephews. From this point on, all decisions regarding their safety and plan are made by Owen. Even though she’s criticized for being too smart, they often rely on his training skills, not her intellect, to make the right decisions.

Power suit/Heels? Check.  Humorless/stiff? Check.  Single/no kids? Check.

Claire is a smart and independent character, yet she’s soon reduced to following her co-star’s lead. The humorless/stiff personality angle is relied upon tirelessly. In one scene, the nephews blatantly state that they’d prefer to go along with Owen instead of her. Nevertheless, they rescue her nephews, evacuate the island, and fall in love.  All in a day’s work.

-Jurassic World did not pass the Bechdel Test.-


Physicists Abbigail Yates [Melissa McCarthy] and Erin Gilbert [Kristen Wiig], alongside mechanical engineer Jillian Boltzmann [Kate McKinnon], and MTA worker Patty Tolan [Leslie Jones] attempt to rid NY of a ghost infestation. Erin tries to convince Abby to stop selling their book online, a book written years earlier where they both express their beliefs in ghosts. Having since moved on from researching the paranormal, and expected to receive tenure at Columbia, Erin promises to introduce Abby and Jillian to a potential client if the book is removed from circulation. After experiencing a paranormal apparition, (and being fired from their respective teaching jobs), they decide to pursue their passion, and find some ghosts!  After witnessing an apparition, Patty joins the team offering her expertise in NY history. They form the Ghostbusters, and eventually save the city from impending doom.

The four female leads are dressed conservatively, yet their wardrobe is fun and eclectic. Throughout the movie, constant references are made addressing their intellect, degrees, career goals, areas of expertise and current individual projects they’re working on. Their accomplishments are not a source of shame or ridicule, and they do not obtrude their social life or relationships, it actually bonds them to one another. The only reference to a love connection made is between Erin and the office’s assistant, but it’s mostly platonic and it does not affect the plot of the movie.

Power suit/Heels? Negative.  Humorless/stiff? Negative.  Single/no kids? Not mentioned.

The women in this film do not dilute their personalities, or downplay their accomplishments in order to fit a set standard, or to gain others’ approval. They work together and achieve career success, along with government funding to continue their studies/experiments.
-Ghostbusters passed the Bechdel Test.-


What do these representations have in common and how are they different?

In The Proposal and Jurassic Park, both female leads are depicted almost identically. They dress similarly, they’re “stiff” workaholics, aloof and detached from those around them. Their personalities are constantly mocked due to their perceived rigidness. Finally, they are only found attractive by their romantic interest after becoming vulnerable and adjusting their behavior. The most interesting contrast I noticed was the consequences of dedicating themselves to their careers. In Ghostbusters, it gave the main characters a purpose, and ultimately facilitated success and friendship. In the other two, it hindered their ability to empathize with others. Their accomplishments were diminished by the constant reminders that they were not amiable, funny or maternal enough.

Who dictated these creative decisions?

Before embarking in this journey, I had a sneaky suspicion that the reason why I disagreed with the way professional, strong women are represented in the media, is because the people producing these images are mostly men. The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, generates several large annual studies documenting women’s representation and portrayals, as well as substantial investigations of the business environment surrounding women in film and television. Dr. Martha M. Lauzen is the researcher behind It’s a Man’s Celluloid World (2016) and The Celluloid Ceiling, an ongoing study tracking women’s employment on top grossing films for the last 19 years. [2][3]

Of the top 250 films in 2016:
92% had no women directors
77% had no women writers
58% had no women exec. producers
34% had no women producers
79% had no women editors
96% had no women cinematographers

Male characters were more likely than female characters to have work-related goals (75% vs. 54%). Female characters were more likely than males to have goals related to their personal lives (46% vs. 25%).

The Proposal was directed by Anne Fletcher (who also directed The Devil Wears Prada & 27 Dresses) and produced by Todd Lieberman & David Hoberman. Jurassic World was directed by Colin Trevorrow and produced by Frank Marshall & Patrick Crowley. Ghostbusters was directed by Paul Feig and produced by Amy Pascal & Ivan Reitman. Even though lack of representation is an obvious and serious problem in the film industry, behind the scenes personnel is not a definitive variable for predicting accurate depictions.

Does the target audience influence representations?

Unfortunately, MPAA movie ratings (PG, PG-13, R, etc.) do not come with an appendix explaining target audiences. In my experience, romantic comedies are targeted towards middle aged women, action films toward young-middle age men, and regular comedies have a broader range for an audience. The representations in our first two movies are similar, probably marketed for middle age women and young/middle age men, tying the two is the love connection between the characters. Ghostbusters could also be directed toward middle age women due to the all-women cast, however a younger female audience is probably equally targeted. Overall, target audience is not a definitive variable for predicting accurate depictions.

A woman’s professional success will be experienced differently based on a multitude of variables; age, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation are just a few among many others. While in the military, I had the honor of serving side by side with assertive and inspiring female leaders; women who worked tirelessly to serve their country, as fiercely and with as much dedication as they offered their own families. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Needless to say, I find any notion that limits women’s capabilities down to their reproductive capacities not only insulting, but simply ridiculous.

Even though film/TV may never truly encompass the wide range of possibilities, two steps can be taken to change the way successful career women are depicted by Hollywood. 1) The audience should demand accurate and respectful representations. We could start by redefining the definition of success, which is almost always represented by women in “executive” positions, and completely unrelated to career fulfillment.
2) More women behind the scenes. Women must be able to express and reproduce their own experiences; professional single women, wives and mothers, happy or unhappy, the good, the great, the bad and the ugly. Depicting a more realistic approach to balancing work and their social lives will undoubtedly empower audiences, highlighting the fact that it doesn’t have to be “either or”. You truly can have your cake and eat it too!

Learning Moments

Week 2. In an essay describing how Muslim women are represented in the media, Diane Watt asserted that “the meaning of an image is not inherent on the image, but is a process of exchange between image and viewer. Beliefs inform interpretation.” I found that to be such a powerful and true statement. If images aid beliefs, and beliefs inform interpretations, then representations matter! It brought home the point that not every representation we see is accurate, and it’s our duty to not be persuaded without doing our research.

Week 6. The article “News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions” was a fantastic read. The writer not only highlights that every reporter (at times influenced by their company) bring his or her own bias into writing, but it also provided a list of concrete questions to help determine whether we are getting the whole story. I will be using these strategies to further dissect news stories I come across in my daily life.


[1] The Bechdel Test Movie List. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from

[2] Lauzen, M. M., PhD. (2017). The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 100, 250, and 500 Films of 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from

[3] Lauzen, M. M., PhD. (2017). It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from

The Portrayal of “Underdog-Dreamers” in Popular Culture Media

A dreamer is an individual who dreams. As an authentic definition, it is defined as a person who lives in a world of fantasy whose ideas are visionary.  Dreamers have a creative mind where they vision and fantasize about their life similarly to their imagination. An underdog is a person who has little money, power, and low chance of winning. The media frequently portrays characters who achieve their dreams as underdogs in the beginning. I will emphasize specifically on dreamers who start out as underdogs in this blog post. For my definition of an “underdog-dreamer”, it is somebody who has dreams which they desire to accomplish by believing in themselves, working hard, and refusing to quit. There is no universal dream. A dream can be anything, it does not have to imply to wealth or a successful career. A dream can be to have a joyful life, a loving family, an enjoyable career, fulfill your bucket list, or simply be true to who you are.

I believe which having dreams can relate to everybody. Every individual at least has one desired dream which they want to fulfill. As I mentioned above, a dream can utterly be anything from small desires to big desires. I have always been a person who have many dreams which I want to accomplish. My desires for acquiring my dreams continuously intensify because of the effects of popular media (movies, news articles, ads, and music). There are so many excellent movies and news articles which display a dreamer who starts out as an underdog. The media regularly portrays a dreamer in a very positive manner. For my blog post, I chose to analyze three different movies.

The popular media portrays “underdog-dreamers” as hardworking and determined individuals who overcome their personal obstacles to achieve their desired dreams at the end.

The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama movie directed by Gabriele Muccino. It is based on a real story of entrepreneur Chris Gardner’s nearly one-year struggle with being homeless. Gardner is an aspiring entrepreneur who invested all his savings in portable bone scanners which he had trouble selling. Financial hardship caused his wife to leave him with his 5 years old son Christopher Jr. One day, when Gardner was selling bone scanners downtown, he encountered Jay Twistle, a manager for a big company (Dean Witter Reynolds). He impressed Jay by solving a Rubik’s cube during a taxi ride. His new relationship with Jay earned him the chance to become an intern stockbroker. Gardner’s unpaid internship and empty bank account led to an eviction from his apartment. Therefore, Gardner and his son spent many nights sleeping in restrooms and a homeless shelter. At the end, Gardner received a full-time offer due to his performance at work. Gardner was overwhelmed with joy and happiness. The epilogue at the end revealed which Gardner forms his own multimillion-dollar brokerage firm years later (The Pursuit of Happyness, Sony).

The Pursuit of Happyness is an inspirational and compelling movie regarding an aspiring entrepreneur facing many obstacles before reaching success. The turning point of his life was when he impressed Jay Twistle by solving a Rubik’s cube. The act of solving a Rubik’s cube displayed intelligence. It foreshadowed which Gardner will have a bright future due to his skill and cleverness. Some other powerful details of the movie were when Gardner served in jail before his interview and when the landlord evicted him and his son out of his apartment with 22 dollars in his bank account. These scenes show the difficulties which Gardner went through. However, Gardner overcame everything to become a happy and successful man at the end. According to the article: “Climbing Out of the Gutter With a 5-Year-Old in Tow” Dargis, a movie critic, she thoroughly explained which this movie displayed there is no success without failure, and overcoming obstacles is the hardest stage of success (Dargis, 2006). The movie displayed an ultimate underdog in a typical way of telling a story of a man who overcame all obstacles to accomplish his dream of becoming successful. Gardner wanted to become successful so he and his son could have a happy and sufficient life. His obstacles included financial hardship, departure of his wife, homelessness, apartment eviction, jail, and an unpaid internship.

This quote perfectly summarizes the movie: Favorite quote: “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period”- Christopher Gardner (Pursuit of Happyness, IMDb).

La La Land
 La La Land is a 2016 musical drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The movie starred Ryan Gosling as Sebastian (a jazz pianist) and Emma Stone (an aspiring actress) who met and fell in love in Los Angeles. Sebastian is a passionate and struggling jazz pianist whose dream was to become a successful Jazz musician where he could spread Jazz to the masses. Mia moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming an actress where she constantly failed every audition. The two characters are excellent examples of underdogs because they had no social status and nobody took them seriously. Sebastian drove an old car and lived in a small apartment where he could barely pay for the rent. His job consisted of him playing Jazz at restaurants making little money. Mia worked at a coffee shop where she shared an apartment with her friends.

La La Land is a beautiful and flawless movie which emphasizes on dream, passion, career, love, art, and music. I will mainly emphasize on the “dream” category. It told a story of two individuals who overcame barriers to accomplish their dream at the end. Mia’s obstacles included her six years of failed auditions, her failed show, financial hardship, and lack of social status. She was an underdog who thought she was not good enough to succeed. Sebastian’s obstacles consisted of him getting fired, being treated unkindly at workplace, and making very little money. In the movie, nobody appeared to care about him and his music. Whenever he played Jazz at restaurants, no customers even bothered to look at him. Despite all those obstacles, Mia and Sebastian overcame everything to acquire their dream at the end. At the end, Mia became a famous actress where she drove a luxurious car and lived in a beautiful house. Sebastian had his own Jazz club where customers enjoyed what he plays. His club appeared to be very busy and crowded. This beautiful and inspirational movie positively tells the audience which dreams are possible. It demonstrates which it is very challenging to acquire a dream. Many people quit and fail to accomplish it. However, your dream will come true if you are determined, hard-working, and refuse to quit. La La Land portrays dreamers in a positive manner where they start out as underdogs and succeed at the end.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is a 1994 iconic American comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel “Forrest Gump” by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Tom Hanks. Gump was a kind-hearted, positive, caring, and courageous man. Despite having diminished intellect, Gump still managed to accomplish many incredible achievements which majority of people cannot. He graduated college, enlisted in the army, met U.S Presidents, played sports, and started a three and half year journey. Forrest Gump is different than the other two movies because it depicted a story of a man with disabilities. Gump was an underdog who was bullied throughout childhood because of his disabilities. The movie demonstrated which Gump overcame the odds of having intellect disabilities to acquire many accomplishments. Despite having disadvantages, Gump turned out to be a very intelligent person who exceeded everything he did. He had the never-quit attitude where he had a very positive outlook on everything.

Forrest Gump is an excellent movie which illustrates a story of man with disabilities who overcomes his odds and acquire many accomplishments. The message of this movie is motivational because it tells the audience which everyone is capable of doing anything.

Another article I have which relates to this movie is “Boccia- “Follow Your Dream and You Can Do Anything” by Peter Rimmer. The article examines Boccia and its participants. Boccia is a competitive sport that tests muscle control, accuracy, immense skill, judgment, and concentration. Boccia is played by athletes with cerebral palsy and related conditions who use wheelchairs. The prominent athletes which are mentioned in this article are Stephen McGuire and David Smith. These two men excelled in this sport and won multiple medals for their performance (Rimmer, 2012). The article describes individuals with physical disabilities overcoming obstacles and accomplishing their dreams of competing in a competitive sport. Athletes have a reputation of being physically fit and strong. Society tends to look down on individuals with disabilities who desire to become an athlete. However, the article displays which disabled individuals who use wheelchairs can still become athletes and compete in a sport. The content of this article is compelling and inspirational. These courageous men and women achieved something which they did not even think they could. David Smith and Stephen McGuire both admitted which they are always overwhelmed before competing because there are so many fans attending to watch this sporting event. Despite having cerebral palsy, these two men have mastered a competition of skill, judgment, and tactics. These details depict which everyone can exceed their limits and achieve what they desire if they do not give up and continue to work hard.


 Reality can be cruel and it is not likely to imitate a movie. Almost everyone has dreams and goals. However, not anyone can succeed and accomplish their dreams. There are plenty of factors contributing to that problem such as financial hardship, technicalities, personal issues, family problems, etc. Many people dream too unrealistically and many do not even have a dream. It is extremely challenging to acquire a dream. However, I genuinely believe which passion, determination and hard work will lead you to further progress.

After analyzing my sources and doing research, I have developed multiple steps on how to accomplish a dream:

  • Establish a dream
  • Believe in yourself
  • Picture yourself succeeding in a positive way
  • Develop a plan
  • Work (dreams cannot come true orally)

These steps are good guidelines to follow. They do not guarantee which your dream will come true. However, I will try to implement these steps to hopefully achieve my dream one day.


Our popular media regularly portrays “underdog-dreamers” as hardworking and determined individuals who overcome all obstacles to achieve their desired dreams at the end. All three movies feature different characters and have a different plot. However, they all share multiple similarities. The similarities consist of all them starting out as underdogs and have a positive conclusion regarding their dreams. In Pursuit of Happyness, Gardner became a successful multi-millionaire. In La La Land, Mia became a famous actress and Sebastian became a prominent Jazz musician who had his own club. In Forrest Gump, Gump became a valuable and influential person for acquiring so many accomplishments. The media always demonstrates to the audience which hard work and determination will lead you to success. Although this is not always the case, but I like the fact that the media portrays dreamers in a positive manner. It is an effective way to convince and inspire “dreamers” around the world.

Learning Moments:

A learning moment from this was material from Week 1 where we discussed about information, technology, and society. The video “Filter Bubbles” by Eli Pariser from TED talk and the article “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth” were very interesting. The “Filter Bubble” was described to be your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. I completely agree with this idea, and people always have a different browsing history. Individuals always search for different websites, ideas, and information. Your result is not going to match with others due to this filter bubble you live in. It is a good idea which individuals try to search beyond their filter bubble and look for new information. The second article demonstrated how many students simply use Google to answer all their questions. Many individuals are unable to perform a proper research using reliable resources. The article listed out three helpful tips to become better at doing research.

A second learning moment was from Week 6. In Week 6, we examined the issue of news and journalism. News media is a very powerful factor in today’s world, and it is important to distinguish between news and journalism. The article “News is Bad for You” by Dobelli was very intriguing and conflicting. He argued which news is bad and had some valid points to support his argument. I agree with many of his points which described the media is manipulative and news can cause fear, confusion, and aggression. I can apply these learning moments towards the media and my consumption in news.


Work Cited Page:

Rimmer, Peter. “Boccia- “Follow Your Dream And You Can Do Anything.” Palaestra 26.3 (2012): 31-33. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Dargis, Manohla. “Climbing Out of the Gutter With a 5-Year-Old in Tow.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2006. Web. 17 Feb. 2017. <;.

“Forrest Gump | Paramount Pictures.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.

Agency, RED Interactive. “LA LA LAND.” Lionsgate. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.

“The Pursuit Of Happyness | Sony Pictures.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.

Muccino, Gabriele. The Pursuit of Happyness. N.p., 2006. Film.

Dobelli, Rolf. “News Is Bad for You – and Giving up Reading It Will Make You Happier.” The Guardian 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

Pariser, Eli. Beware Online “Filter Bubbles.” N.p. Film.









How Female Bodybuilders Portrayed on Medias?

Female bodybuilding is an activity where women compete in bodybuilding competitions or just women that like to lift and have muscle definition. With the rise of women who bodybuild in media: a television movie, a poster, a commercial, and photos on Internet, the more of both positive and negative opinions about female bodybuilders. Some media views female bodybuilders negatively, sending a wrong message about female bodybuilding, and some try to normalize and inspire them. Female bodybuilders are portrayed on media differently from male bodybuilders because of what they wear and how they pose. Different countries have different perspectives toward female bodybuilders. They are viewed differently depending on their ideal body type. The positive is that media changes peoples’ attitudes toward female bodybuilders.

Female bodybuilders are viewed as bizarre and masculine, and the television movie Getting Physical portrayed female bodybuilders in an inaccurate way. Getting Physical (1984) is a television movie about Kendall, a female bodybuilder who suffers from self-esteem issues due to her weight, and is disliked by her father and her boyfriend because of her tough look. In the movie, Kendall’s dad is curious about her biceps. However, his perspective is that visible biceps belong to men and it must not be accepted. Moreover, he says that Kendall’s back looks like “Green Beret” and he mentions that bodybuilding is a freak show. Her boyfriend is supportive but he still does not understand why Kendall wants to be a bodybuilder. This movie was made back in 1980s and fitness phenomenon was just in, which made it difficult for men to accept tough looking women. I think the reason some women like to be a bodybuilder is it might be their favorite activity to do, the enjoyment of the progress they see, and it boosts their self-esteem. This is related to myself because lifting is my routine and I enjoy seeing my body getting leaner and toner.


The Getting Physical poster portrays a female bodybuilder in an inaccurate way. The poster shows Nadine , a woman in a bikini, posing a muscle pose, and a small picture of Kendall on the side. There is a written text above the picture says “When a beautiful woman becomes a bodybuilder, the sport take on a whole new shape, and her life new meaning”. In the article, ‘Getting Physical’: Text/Context/Reading and the Made-for-Television Movie”, Schulze wrote that Nadine’s body shows little muscle mass than what a female bodybuilder actually looks like, and the image shows that women with little muscle mass represents the new ideal of beauty. This poster shows a female with no marks of muscle, but the movie is about the female bodybuilder, who is muscular. When searching images of female bodybuilders, it results in pictures of women with big and lean muscles. The poster might misunderstand the audiences because it shows the wrong image of a female bodybuilder.

Male and female athletes are not equally compared on media. Women athletes or bodybuilders are view in negative ways. In the article Male & Female Athletes In The Media: Are They Equally Portrayed?, Robson (2012) compares male and female athletes. He mentions female athletes are often viewed as sex symbols because of how they pose in pictures and how they dress. The author shows picture of female athletes with sexual poses, little clothing, and heavy makeup. Media views them as weak, submissive and less biologically equipped to deal with the stresses of high-level sporting endeavors. On the other hand, male athletes viewed differently from female athletes. Male athletes are usually viewed by media as athletes with high ability in the sport. Men are mainly referred to as heroic, tough, strong and powerful. I have never viewed female athletes as sex symbol, soft, girlish, or weak before.

From my perspective, I see female athletes or female bodybuilders the same as other male athletes. It is surprising how pictures of female athlete on medias who wear little clothing, heavy makeup, and sexual poses are viewed differently from males. There are many males in bodybuilding competitions, and male fitness models wear little clothing and fake tan as well. In the article, the author gives an example of female tennis athletes who wear little clothing and a lot of makeup. I think the media might view female bodybuilders differently because it is necessary for them to wear bikini and heavy make-up in order in compete on the stage. This is because the lights on competition stages are bright which make the figures look unpronounced both facial features and muscle. I am aware of how male and female athletes are viewed differently in media, because if female athletes dress too little and wear too much makeup, they can be viewed as a sexual symbol, weak, and submissive. Robson did not write about female bodybuilders in her article. Female bodybuilders must wear little clothing because they have to reveal their body muscle on the stage, similar to female fitness models. The audience who read this article might view female athletes differently. They might view female athlete as what the author of this article wrote. However, it might change people mind of how they view female athletes. Bodybuilding can be both a sport and modeling. Therefore, people might focus on what female bodybuilders are wearing in addition to their ability and power in sport.

Additionally, female bodybuilders are viewed differently in Thailand because thinness is their ideal body type. This Thai Pizza Hut commercial, directed by Littichai Siriprasitpong, is about a female bodybuilder. Its purpose is to attract anyone who wants to work and eat at Pizza Hut, since they do not judge people on how they look. This commercial was broadcasted on television in Thailand and on social media in 2013. In the commercial, the main character likes bodybuilding, but people around her view her as strange because of her muscle. She says that no one wants to be her friend, and that makes her want to disappear from the world. However, she still believes that there is some place that accepts her for who she is. That is Pizza Hut, where any kind of person is accepted in the restaurant. This commercial is an exaggeration of reality. I am from Thailand, and the people there are not like in the commercial. Women with muscle or female bodybuilders in this commercial were very rare in Thailand in 2013. The majority of commercials are about skinny and pale women, which are idealized in Thailand. However, that doesn’t mean women with muscle are unacceptable. Female bodybuilder can apply work anywhere just like here in America. With the rise of female bodybuilding trend on social media such as Instagram and Youtube, it is more acceptable these days.

The creator of the commercial “Pizza Hut: Muscle Women” aimed to boost the self-esteem in women with muscle. This commercial makes me feel great that the company doesn’t judge people on the look. Even though I am similar to women in this commercial, the people around me are different from the people around her. In reality, most people don’t judge others on how muscular they are. The commercials purpose of this media product is to attract more workers and customers at Pizza Hut. The message from this commercial is not specifically on women with muscle but other genders and body types, as well.

Female bodybuilders on media can inspire people to get in shape. There are female bodybuilders on any media platforms that are inspirations but “oldest female bodybuilder” stand out the most. The video from Youtube is about Ernestine Shepherd (80 years old) who is the Guinness World Records’ oldest female bodybuilder. This video was produced by Mandy Oaklander and Kristen Harding. Its purpose is to inspire people at any age and people with health problems to be healthy again. The audience is everyone on Internet but this can inspire people at her age, too. Ernestine Shepherd is the oldest female bodybuilder who inspires a lot of women around her age to get back to healthy lifestyle again. She has a sister who wanted to be in the Guinness World Record of “The World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder,” but she died due to health problems. Ernestine also faced health problems but she wanted to complete her sister’s dream and that was the beginning of her bodybuilding story. In the video, Ernestine also teaches a gym class and she inspired her clients, mostly senior women and she says that age is nothing. Anybody can get fit.

From my experience, I go to the gym 5 times a week and I do not see much of senior women lifting weight. Ernestine Shepherd shows that anyone her age can be a bodybuilder or just to stay fit just like her. The most revealing in this video is that her health problems disappeared after she started to become a bodybuilder. It can inspire many people with health problems to start picking up weight and eat healthy. She also stated in the video that it is fine for females to lift weight. This video looks like a commercial but it is not. They use her voice-over to inspire the audience, and the music is very motivating. They also include a real interview from her clients and her competition on the stage to make this video credible. The video looks like a short version documentary but still inspiring.

In conclusion, female bodybuilders are viewed differently from male bodybuilders on media. They are sometimes viewed differently in other countries, too. These women with muscle on media are powerful and inspiring and can change other people’s lives. People might see female bodybuilders as masculine and sex symbols. Skinny is the ideal body type in Thailand and that made female bodybuilding strange to the society. It becomes more acceptable now because of media. Female bodybuilders in media inspire many other women to feel that it is okay for them to lift weight just like men do. Media today tries to publish female bodybuilders in positive ways. They make females with muscles more acceptable in society. That what makes the world a better place to live, because everyone can feel accepted and be comfortable no matter how they look.


Stern, S. H. (Director). (1984, March 20). Getting Physical [Video file].

Siriprasitpong, L. (Director). (2013). Pizza Hut: Muscle women [Video file]. Retrieved from

Robson, D. (2012, July 16). Male & Female Athletes In The Media: Are They Equally Portrayed? Retrieved from

Schulze, L. J. (1986). “Getting Physical”: Text/Context/Reading and the Made-for-Television Movie. Cinema Journal,25(2), 35. doi:10.2307/1225458

Harding, K. (Director), & Oaklander a, M., & Harding, K. (Producers). (n.d.). Worlds Oldest Female Bodybuilder [Video file]. Retrieved from

Violent Gamers


I love to play video games. It’s something that lets me forget about the stresses of life and interact with friends, wherever they may be. I play enough video games to consider myself a bit of a gamer and noticed that popular culture tends to portray gamers as violent because of a supposed link between video game violence and gamers. However, the connection between violent video games and violence has yet to be fully proved.

Law & Order, there is none in Gaming

In early 2015, an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit portrayed white male gamers as terrorists against the diversification of the video game community. To set the scene of the episode, two white males walk up to a female booth host at an FPS gaming event. Later, they attack her when she walks into the empty bathroom.

A female game developer, Raina, is kidnapped, beaten, and raped by three white males in the name of anti-female gamers. The episode shows the three kidnappers sexually abusing Raina and streaming videos of the abuse over the dark web. The first stream shows Raina being tied up, withgreen text that says “Game on NYPD”.

The next video shows one of the kidnappers ripping open Raina’s blouse and slapping her across the face. At the end of the video, text fades in that reads “level completed”.

The next stream ends with Raina being thrown onto a pile of pillows with the three kidnappers taking off their clothes around her. It is implied that the stream continues as they rape her.

In the end, Raina was rescued. She left the game industry saying “women in gaming… What did I expect?” (Law & Order).

H3H3Produces an Analysis

The episode got a lot of backlash from people saying how unrealistic the episode is. They felt the writers of the show took the recent gamergate issues and blew them out of proportion. Four people of the gamergate group threatened three females involved in the gaming industry. While the threats were illegal and horrific, the three victims of gamergate were never harmed the way Law & Order portrayed. Below is a satirical review of it, by H3H3Productions.

I must note, the man in the video – Ethan Klein – is acting more upset than he really is. That’s his format; he tries to discredit the plot of the episode while acting as outrageous as possible. However, Ethan does point out the wild assumption that gamers are violent.

In the video, Ethan says the episode “berates and belittles” the gaming community. Soon after, he points out the cinematic psychological effect of putting flashes of chanting/cheering and a sexual assault together. This connecting of scenes can cause a connection in the audience’s minds. Flashes of white men cheering and white men attacking a woman who is part of the game industry can cause the audience to connect the idea that white men enjoy the assault of female gamers.

Ethan watches a scene where the woman who was attacked is telling the detective that the assailants were pasty white and skinny. The detective then says that the description fits “80% of the crowd.” This sets in the portrayal of gamers being white male. However, violent gamers are not always locked into while males. The reason Law & Order used white males in their episode is because the demographic of the broad video game community is mostly white male.

Bernie, Hillary, & Donald

Political figures have a loud presence. They speak about popular issues, and what their opinions are. They tell us they can make our lives better. They rally the masses to support them and their ideals. Political figures have been able to get everyone to believe that video game violence causes violent people. The following video is from a YouTube channel called NerdAlert. The host, Kim Horcher, discusses the views of the top three runners from the 2016 presidential race.

The most popular government figures of 2016 see violent video games as influential to people. Hillary Clinton made “five major proposals” to make buying video games more difficult (NerdAlert). Most of what she wanted to do was to ensure the current laws on age-ratings were being upheld. Nothing wrong with that. But then she went on to say, “’we need to treat violent video games the way we treat tobacco, alcohol, and pornography’” (NerdAlert). That feel pretty extreme to me. Bernie Sanders mentioned video games with television and movies in saying that they desensitize people, specifically to death and killing. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “Video game violence and glorification must be stopped – it is creating monsters!” (NerdAlert). These three all believe violent video games can cause violence in gamers. They, being a part of popular culture, encourage and support the portrayal of violent gamers even though the research says that video game violence does not cause people to act violently.

Violent Gamers, it’s just Science

A TIME Health post, written by Alexandra Sifferlin, summarizes research that answers the question: Are violent video games linked to aggressive behaviors in players? According to the TIME article, the research says “that playing violent games is linked to aggression, but that there’s insufficient evidence to link the games to actual criminal violence” (Sifferlin). So it seems that research from 2003 to 2015 has concluded that young adult gamers are more aggressive than those that don’t play video games but they are not more violent.

Here is a video from 2014 discussing the popular controversy in the news on the correlation between video games and violence:

The video, published by YouTube channel Health Triage, mentioned how there have been more news coverage and articles on research that linked video game violence to violent players than research that did not link video game violence to violent players. This doesn’t mean there are more studies that determined violent video games cause real life violence. It just means that they were discussed more over popular media, making them more popular in our culture. The popularity causes more people to see a gamer as violent.

The host specifically covered research conducted by Dr. Chris Ferguson. He “studied 103 young adults” that were randomly split up into four test groups; (1) could not play any video games, (2) could only play a nonviolent video game, (3) could only play a violent video game where they played as a “good guy”, and (4) could only play a violent game where they played as a “bad guy”. Then, the young adults had to do “frustration tests… they had to engage in some activity which would make it more likely that they would get frustrated and perhaps aggressive. And [Dr. Ferguson’s] study shows no link between video games and aggression” (Healthcare Triage). Dr. Ferguson also wrote that the test subjects that had previously played video games had “fewer hostile feelings” during the frustration tests (Healthcare Triage). What is interesting to note, is that Ferguson’s research showed the people who have played video games over time were harder to enrage or frustrate than those who recently began playing video games. In all of the studies that Health Triage analyzed, there was no data that adequately proves video game violence causes gamers to be violent.

A survey that the host talked about covered the studies that gathered data on the test subjects’ thoughts after playing violent video games. The studies could only gather thoughts that lasted “4 to 30 minutes.” Out of the thirty or so surveys conducted, only twelve gathered data over extended periods of time. Of those twelve, only one could prove a connection between violent video games and violent tendencies. The rest either didn’t have “any data on family relationships or mental well-being” or they concluded that the family relationships or mental well-being played a larger factor in the violent tendencies than video games (Healthcare Triage). By not gathering data about each test subject’s family relationships or mental well-being, the correlation is not valid because there could be underlying reasons why the subjects were easily angered.

So we hear gamers are violent. It’s on television. It’s in the news. It’s in our government. Popular culture has done a great job at portraying gamers as violent people. Yet, research says otherwise (well, research that holds credible statistics). I know I am not a violent person. I play video games, especially now that I got my hands on a Nintendo Switch and spring break is upon me, and I have yet to see myself (or my gamer friends) become more violent as they continue to play violent games. I have no doubt that I will not become a crazed man and start swinging swords or stealing cars or ram into things and drive up the side of a mountain, because violent video games do not make violent gamers.


Learning Moments:

  1. Analyzing media artifacts. Learning to dig deep into a news article, an advertisement, or a movie will prove useful when I want to understand more about what or why the artifact was published. One of the optional discussion prompts in the course blog wanted us to analyze a magazine advertisement. Clicking “Learning Moments” above will take you to a document showing the ad, my analysis process, and the comment that I posted on the blog. It also has my second learning moment in it as well.
  2. Developing research questions and finding solid answers to those questions. After doing some initial research, I was able to formulate some better questions that can give me more of what I am looking for as I get deeper into research. This skill will continuously be put to use in my career as an engineer.

Works Cited

  1. Imitation Game Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Season 16, Episode 14) written by Dick Wolf and Céline C. Robins, directed by Jean de Segonzac, Wolf Films, 2015
  2. “Violent Video Games Are Linked to Aggression, Study Says” Sifferlin, Alexandra. TIME Health. 17 Aug. 2015, Web.
  3. “Video Games Don’t Cause Violent Behavior”, Healthcare Triage, YouTube, 2015,
  4. “What Bernie, Hillary, & Trump Say About Video Game Violence”, NerdAlert, YouTube, 2016,


Asian Actors and Actresses: An Identity Unfit for Western Hollywood Film Culture

The production of films have been around for over 100 years. With the rise of movie productions in western popular culture, there also comes a rise of popular western actors and actresses. However, due to the dominating western system within the film industry, not everyone can be casted as a part of the leading roles. One specific identity that appears to be continually manipulated by Hollywood, the center of the American film industry, is the Asian-American identity. The lack of Asian-Americans in many movies’ leading roles attributes to the movie industry’s perception that they are unfit―the reasons ranging from being less masculine, less known, to less skilled than non-Asian actors and actresses―for casting.

One of the worst movies in 2010, a movie awarded with the worst movie of the year by Golden Schmoes Awards, is “The Last Airbender.” The all-white casting of the three major leading roles in the movie clearly indicates how the industry sees Asians as unqualified for such positions. Viewers who have seen the “Avatar the Last Airbender” cartoon will instantly see the lack of Asian-American cast as the major roles. In comparison to the T.V. show, only a few Asian characters were casted, and the Korean-American born actor named Randall Duk Kim played the minor role as the old man in the temple. By mainly casting minor characters as ethnically diverse actors and actresses, the movie isolates Asian actors and actresses from playing the leading roles. The Last Airbender had an enormous budget of $150,000,000, and the productions did not report any effort for looking for diverse actors and actresses for the leading roles. By casting white characters as the leading roles, people have questioned the validity of the casting process within big movie productions; as a result of these questions, the favoring of non-Asian actors and actresses may imply that there aren’t skilled Asian “youth” actors and actresses specifically for this movie.

The movie “Kubo and the Two Strings” manifests the media’s continual preference towards casting non-Asian actors and actresses; in the movie’s credits, most of the actors listed were mostly white. Everything else in the movie, the animation and the characters, were Japanese-based. The only notable Asian-American was George Takei, and he played one of the villagers who appeared for only a few scenes in the movie. As for the main villain who was an all-powerful Japanese grandfather, Laika Productions casted Ralph Fiennes, and his character appeared much more frequently than Takei’s character. The casting choices Laika made stirred up “whitewashing controversies,” or the idea of casting mainly white actors and actresses to appeal to the masses. With only one Asian-American voice actor among many other white actors, one can assume that the productions didn’t find Asians appealing enough, or they were simply unfit, or not qualified, for the voicing roles. The majority of the actors such as Art Parkinson came from successful shows and movies like “Game of Thrones.”

Last year, Marvel Studios released Doctor Strange which raised casting controversy surrounding Tilda Swinton’s cast as the “Ancient One,” a character who is supposedly a Tibetan monk; by casting a white female as an Asian character, Marvel Studio sets up problematic questions whether they view Asians as masculine as other white actors or not. Instead of the Tibetan monk as described in the original comics, the movie portrays an androgynous character, Tilda Swinton. Other than Swinton’s controversial casting, Benedict Wong is the only “major” Asian character in the movie. He becomes a sorcerer to Dr. Strange, but in the comics, he is simply subordinate to Dr. Strange. Even though Marvel Studios casted an Asian in a somewhat important role, one could question why the productions didn’t cast an Asian for the Ancient One? Marvel Studios didn’t hold any sort of casting audition for the Ancient One, but the productions simply invited Swinton to take the role. Without showing any large efforts for a diverse cast including Asians, Marvel Studios’ actions show how the Asian identity is continually shadowed by white lens.

Going further back into Hollywood’s history, it’s essential to understand the media’s initial perception of casting Asian actors and actresses. A case study “Asian American Actors in Film, Television, and Theater” written by Joanne Lee assesses that, “Asian faces and more significantly Whites playing Asians in major roles have been a part of Hollywood films for over a century” (177). She justifies this long debate due to the fact that “media culture [is] rooted predominantly a Western/European/White matrix, the opportunities for Asians, or any minority, to play the leading roles are limited just because that is the way things are” (177). Even within this constricted structure of the film industry, Lee does suggest a solution to overcome the barriers for Asian-American actors and actresses. She specifically states that, “[to] overcome the barriers within the system, one needs to change the existing structure and environment” (184). The environment, or film industry, can only change if the film industries change their perceptions of Asians’ masculinity and qualifications. Compared to today, Lee’s statement of the western white matrix remains prevalent and true to a certain extent. White actors and actresses may be more appealing and masculine to the masses throughout history; in Doctor Strange, we can assume this reason for Tilda Swinton’s character who is a Tibetan monk and for Benedict Wong’s minor role as a sorcerer.

Another individual named Philippa Gates provides an interesting viewpoint when he states, “[in] Hollywood film, there is a distinction between “Asian” as a racial category and “Asian American” as an ethnic one – the former being often criminalised for their cultural autonomy while the latter were lauded when they assimilated into mainstream American culture” (19). Regardless of what Asians try to do within the film industry, Gates basically states that Asians are trapped regardless of their distinctions. Later on, Gates discusses about an actor named Charlie Chan who embodies the “Asian” which is the term criminalised for its cultural autonomy. Gates then goes to discuss how “the stereotype of the Hollywood “Asian” solidified in silent American films [where Chinese laundrymen, laborers, and etc. were portrayed as cruel]” (20). Furthermore, Gates believed that “the concern about race for Classical-era film producers was less race and more cultural or national difference: the Asian American detective is regarded as less “other” and less threatening to the American way of life than the foreign-born Asian detective played by white actors” (37). From this statement, Gates summarizes that “Asian” was more detrimental to the film industry than “Asian American” is to it. By analyzing the patterns among films such as “The Last Airbender” and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” the difference that Gates describe may actually be synonymous today. Asians are simply regarded as unpopular, unfit, and less-masculine than white individuals. Perhaps the media has in mind that casting popular white celebrities will be more successful because they appeal to the common audience.

One research article suggests a different Asian perception of the film industry by analyzing Rush Hour 2 which stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. “Naturalizing Racial Differences Through Comedy: Asian, Black, and White Views on Racial Stereotypes in Rush Hour 2,” suggests a possibility in “[arguing] that the growing number of comedies starring racial minorities has facilitated racial tolerance, as well as the acceptance of Asian men, in particular, who have been consistently marginalized from mainstream cultural representation in the United States” (157-28). However, the article goes on to state that the, “characters consistently conform to negative minority stereotypes that can be deemed racist. In other words, while such films have increased racial tolerance, the films’ characters are ironically portrayed as stereotypical. Nonetheless, the research concludes that “racial stereotypes in comedy are problematic precisely because they help validate racial differences through rumor, thus rendering them natural and unchallengeable” (173). The three movies, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Doctor Strange,” and “The Last Airbender” are recent productions that differ from the acceptance of Asian men. They differ in the fact that Asian men aren’t all that accepted due to modern film industry’s perception that they are not so masculine and are unfit for leading roles. Although Rush Hour 2 made some changes through comedy during its time period (2000s), the recent movies discussed indicate how Hollywood hasn’t changed its perception of Asians.

Overall, from analyzing how Asian-Americans are casted in popular movies and their brief history with Hollywood’s initial casting perceptions, it’s apparent that movie productions view Asians as simply unfit for leading roles, whether the reasons be the lack of talent, masculinity, or popularity. In Joanne Lee’s article, her arguments revolve the current perception of Asians today in movies around the dominating white complex. With the historic mention of Classical Hollywood, Philippa Gates provides an interesting viewpoint of the industry’s initial perception of Asians which differs little from the present day’s perception. Moreover, while some movies like Rush Hour 2 appear to resolve such Asian movie perceptions, “Naturalizing Racial Differences. . .” article does not apply to current movies where Asians are less accepted and less qualified for leading roles. Although the media has made some efforts to cast an Asian for an Asian role (Benedict Wong in Doctor Strange), the overall analysis of “The Last Airbender,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” and “Doctor Strange” evaluates the unchanging viewpoint of Asians in Hollywood industry. With new movies like “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon and “Ghost in the Shell” starring Scarlett Johansson, Hollywood leaves little opportunity for Asian actors and actresses to shine.

Two Important Learning Moments During This Course

The two most significant learning moments during the term are week two’s reflection of others in the popular culture mirror and week five’s reflections in Hollywood films. During week two, an article called “The Evolution of The Doltish Dad,” written by Hanna Rosin discusses how “the TV doltish [idiot] dad has become a genuine block to social progress.” From Phil Dunphy to Homer Simpson, the popularity for these kinds of characters on television hinders the social diversity lacking on many shows. Although Rosin states that the women have changed, men have not. Unless the media starts to act, social progress will only “evolve in tiny increments, and very slowly.” During week five, the ASC research study, or Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014, is a great read that emphasizes the clear statistics on the lack of demographic diversity in popular Hollywood movies. Another great read was Dylan Marron’s Single World Tumblr blog which essentially talks about how a majority of movies portray a bad message to non-white people, that “you don’t really have a place in this world.” From the media’s emphasis on popular stereotypes on television to non-diverse movie castings in Hollywood, I can simply relate it to my previous university studies class “Interpreting the Past.” What both classes have in common is the ability to evaluate. From taking “Interpreting the Past,” it helped me develop useful analytical skills to truly understand a certain individual for instance and interpret why something is the way it is. With that skill, I can also apply it towards why media progression in social diversity is slow as it is. With the knowledge and understanding of why things are the way they are, we can eventually learn to become better at solving problems, specifically social problems.

Works Cited

Dr. Strange. Dir. Scott Derrickson. Marvel Studios, 2016. Film.


Ji Hoon, Park, Nadine G. Gabbadon, and Ariel R. Chernin. “Naturalizing Racial Differences Through Comedy: Asian, Black, And White Views On Racial Stereotypes In Rush Hour 2.” Journal Of Communication 56.1 (2006): 157-177. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Kubo and the Two Strings. Dir. Travis Knight. Laika Studios, 2016. Film.

Lee, Joann. “Asian American Actors in Film, Television and Theater, An Ethnographic Case Study.”Race, Gender & Class, vol. 8, no. 4, 2001, pp. 176–184.

The Last Airbender. Dir. M. Night Shyamalan. Paramount Pictures, 2010. Film.

The Romantic Comedy: Is the Fairy Tale Worth It?

How does the United States see women? One way to look, is at one of the most popular forms of entertainment, the movie. A genre that drives audiences to the theater, and focuses on reeling in women, is the romantic comedy. This genre has been a safe haven for the women surrounding me, including myself. We can watch these movies, and escape from all of the harsh realities of our lives. As we watch them, we are caught up in the emotions, drama, popular actors, and glamour, but don’t think about what we are actually learning from them, or why the movie industry chose to portray us this way. If analyzed, what would the romantic comedy look like without all of the glamour, and fantasy traits? Aside from the extreme lack of diversity within the films and more realistic approaches to women, I found that they are generalized into one large stereotype. I chose films within the last three decades to see possible change, or to notice any static movement. Sixteen Candles, Pretty Woman, and He’s Just Not That Into You illustrate women as primarily obsessed with the opposite gender, and to achieve this love they must alter their bodies, dress a certain way, and have money. The movies also exhibit little change towards a more positive, realistic portrayal.  

The 80’s: Sixteen Candles


I took it upon myself to look at one of the most popular romantic comedies from the 80’s. I figured that if it is so popular, then it is worth analyzing. Released in 1984 and directed by the famous John Hughes, Sixteen Candles embodies high school life in the eighties. Samantha, the main character, struggles with the fact that her family forgets her birthday, and also is highly aware of her classmate, and crush, Jake Ryan. Despite her thinking she is out of Jake’s league, they end up together by the end of the movie, leaving audiences with a satisfied feeling.

Taking a closer look, Samantha expresses her dissatisfaction with her body, and compares herself to Jake Ryan’s current girlfriend. In the beginning, Samantha wakes up on her birthday expecting bodily growth. She states, “you need for inches of bod and a great birthday”. Similarly, her aunt and uncle make a comment about her small breast size. Later, she also describes Jake’s girlfriend as having the “perfect” body, as if associating her popularity and love life with the body. In order for her to get Jake to notice her, she feels she must look a certain way. She becomes focused in getting Jake to notice her. Natalia Thompson in her journal article, “The Chick Flick Paradox: Derogatory? Feminist? Or both?”, states that these recurring portrayals of women being overly concerned with romance and their bodies is derogatory (44). I agree with this statement made by Thompson, for the reason that there are more to women that just this, and if they do think that way then how did they get to that point? Young women watching these roles in popular movies begin to believe that this is how they should be. There are more realistic issues women deal with that are not or rarely conveyed through film.



The 90’s: Pretty Woman


Perhaps one of the most popular romantic comedies from the 90’s is Pretty Woman with the (at the time) up-and-coming beautiful actress, Julia Roberts. Pretty Woman was released in 1991 and directed by Garry Marshall. The main character Vivian is a prostitute who comes across a very rich man, Edward. Edward eventually takes her in and pays her to stay by his side for a week. Vivian changes throughout this time and falls in love with Edward, and they are together in the end, once again leaving audiences satisfied.

In the beginning, Vivian is very concerned about money to make a living. After she meets Edward and attains some money, she uses it to dress, and look a certain way that is suitable for Edward. As the movie proceeds, I seen Vivian transition as if she has been “saved” by Edward. The journal article, “Constructing Gender Stereotypes Through Social Roles in Prime-Time Television” by Martha Lauzen discusses the gender roles within movies. She mentions that males typically play the more professional and money-making roles, while the women take on more domestic, or family roles (201). While Vivian isn’t necessarily domestic, she is the “new female” role that Lauzen mentions. This new role “relies on competence…physical beauty or her relationship to men” (203). Vivian conveys these traits in certain scenes. For example, she uses the money given to her by Edward to shop for more appropriate or “conservative” clothing in order to appeal to him. In this scene, Edward doesn’t even recognize her transformation at first and approves of her new appearance. By doing this, the movie is revealing to women that in order to please the man you want, you must spend money, dress, and look a certain way. Vivian proceeds to shop in expensive, popular clothing stores to be the women suitable for Edwards high-end lifestyle. I think it’s important to mention, that the movie takes place in Beverly Hills, a place known for it’s rich lifestyle and predominately white neighborhoods.


Throughout the entire movie, Vivian is “saved” by the actions taken by Edward. He got her off the streets and gave her enough money to buy her whatever she wanted. Unlike reality, Vivian’s problems were basically blown away with the entrance of Edward. She then makes the comment of how when she was little she always wished for her “knight in shining armor”. This is revealing because it alludes to chivalry, or the idea that only men can solve a woman’s problems or save them.


The 00’s: He’s Just Not That Into You


One out of the many romantic comedies made in the 2000’s, He’s Just Not That Into You is filled with a popular cast. The movie exhibits intermingled relationships, romantic and platonic, and reveals their growth throughout. It seems the movie makes an attempt to better the portrayal of women, but essentially fails. The most revealing, and interesting characters are Gigi and Beth. Gigi is an outgoing character, who is obsessed with finding love and even watches old John Hughes’s movies. She takes the wrong signals from men and acts upon it. Beth wishes to get married to her long-term boyfriend, but he feels their relationship is fine as is. In the end, it is revealed that they both get what they want in terms of their relationships.

The character Gigi, is overly obsessed with finding “the right one”. She meets a man who is basically a love guru, and tells her when someone just isn’t interested, since she can’t seem to understand it herself. She researches, waits for calls, makes the calls, and waits at bars knowing her person of interest might walk in.


Beth is concerned about getting married, and even relates it to nature. She states, “Not getting married is going against nature, don’t you think?”. By making this comment, she reveals that by not getting married, it is completely abnormal and going against nature. In her movie review, Anna Smith criticizes both of these characters as being essentially derogatory for women. She describes Gigi as “vulnerable and downtrodden” and even states that Gigi “recalls the heroines of John Hughes’ teen movies” (61). Her emotional state is extremely exaggerated, and makes her seem crazy. Her character also exhibits no other concern other than her relationship to men. Beth brings the topic of nature into her relationship, revealing that in order to be happy or have a successful relationship, women must eventually get married. Maybe the movie is criticizing these social roles through the couple, but her boyfriend ends up forcefully proposing in the end. Smith mentions, “… a sympathetic male character -having put forward a convincing, emotive argument for not getting married – proposes to his girlfriend. It’s a cheap attempt to provide a conventional fairytale ending.” In the beginning, the movie criticizing the way women are taught growing up (in relation to romance), and even shows all of the women in a workplace unlike the other movies, but in the end most characters are forced into a happy-ending. Gigi also says in the end, “that a happy ending can be “yourself”, or “moving on”. In contrast to her words, almost every character’s happy ending is a lover or marriage.

The Importance of Representation

Why are realistic representations important? I think that it’s important to note, that upon looking at these movies, I realized all of the directors were older white men. Now, why is it that men are choosing this way to portray women, and why aren’t women portraying women? In Lauzen’s journal article, she recognizes the importance of [women’s] representation, “When multiple programs across the broadcast and cable spectrum repeat these gendered role, they assume the air of truth and credibility,” (201). By representing women in such ways as portrayed in these three movies, tells the viewer that this is how women must be, and by popular movies/ actors doing so it gives the material credibility. The lack of diversity (in-front of and behind the camera), generalizations and stereotypes all give women the message of how they should be in this society. How can representation be improved then? I agree with Thompson in her article, in that movies should empower women and should have more realistic plot lines with real-life issues that women endure everyday and women directors and writes should be provided with more of these jobs to achieve the better representations (44). Women should be represented by women, not older white men.


While examining these three popular romantic comedies spanning the time of three decades, it is evident that there is little change to more realistic portrayals of women. The three movies indicate that women are all obsessed with the opposite gender, and to achieve their affection they must change their body physically, dress and look a certain way, and have money. By including this representations in popular movies, it gives the traits credibility and sends the message to women on how they should be or act, and this includes the lack of diversity behind and in-front of the camera. Movies, including romantic comedies, should portray women in a more realistic fashion by dealing with issues women face everyday and confront societal issues revolving around women.

Learning Moments

The biggest learning moment for me in this class, was “the method” videos and the tutorial for finding good, reliable sources. “The method” videos allowed me to break down my analyzing skills, and focus on what is important with my emotions set aside. It really helped me with news, movies, articles, and basically any kind of media. It also helped me with my other classes this term, and I will continue with these learned skills. The tutorial for finding sources in the PSU Library and database was a huge helper. At first, the process was long and confusing. The tutorial allowed me to break down my search to a more specific area and to even find similar sources related.

Another big learning moment for me was finding reliable, trustworthy news information and why the news is important to look at, analyze, and understand who is writing it. Before taking this class, I wasn’t too concerned about the news, and even didn’t take the time to know who it was that I was reading it from. Now, I feel that it is important to maintain a healthy intake of news and to make sure to be aware of the filters happening in the internet, and to also find reliable sources.


He’s Just Not That Into You. Dir. Ken Kwapis. New Line Cinema, 2009. Film.

Lauzen, Martha M., David M. Dozier, and Nora Horan. “Constructing Gender Stereotypes Through Social Roles in Prime-Time Television .” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 52.2 (2008): 200-14. Communications & Mass Media Collection. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Pretty Woman. Dir. Garry Marshall. Touchstone Pictures, 1990. Film.

Sixteen Candles. Dir. John Hughes. Universal Pictures, 1984. Film.

Smith , Anna. “”He’s Just Not That into You” Film Review.” Sight and Sound Apr. 2009: 61. Performing Arts Periodical. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

Thompson , Natalia M. “The Chick Flick Paradox: Derogatory? Feminist? Or Both?” Off Our Backs 1st ser. 37 (2007): 43-45. JSTOR. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.



The nerd stereotype.

Over the course of this popular culture class I have been given the opportunity to analyze and understand varying forms of stereotypes throughout the media. In my time in this class I have been given the opportunity to study and grasp the concept of the nerd stereotype and its use in the media. The nerd stereotype has been depicted throughout almost all forms of media in a negative light as a white male anti-social stereotype that does itself, and others more bad than good. I will be analyzing the stereotypes in three shows, That 70’s Show, Big Bang Theory, and Napoleon Dynamite. Starting with Big Bang Theory and Napoleon Dynamite first as my two negative sources, and then analyzing That 70’s Show as a more positive view of the nerd stereotype.

Big Bang Theory is a tv show directed by Mark Cendrowski. The show follows the story of four friends and their life after college as scientists and nerds. Right off the bat this show takes the nerd stereotype to a heavily negative field, each of the four main characters embodies some variant of the nerd stereotype. Raj is the anti-social stereotype, he is literally unable to talk to women, specifically women that’s right. This problem of his is used to lead to several laughs and hijinks in the show due to his inability to talk to women. Howard is the perverted nerd stereotype, a nerd that relates everything in one way or another to something sexual. There is even an episode where he needs Leonard and Raj to help him get a robot hand off his manhood because he tried to use it to help satisfy his needs. After that we have Shelden, Shelden is another anti-social stereotype but also a very pious know it all stereotype. He believes he’s smarter than everyone else, both his friends and his colleagues are “below” his intelligence and strongly emphasizes throughout the whole series. And finally there is Leonard who compartmentalizes the shy, awkward character that is less of a man for being a nerd. As is discussed by Lori Kendall in “White and Nerdy: Computers, Race, and the Nerd Stereotype” She discusses how one fellow by the name of Ron Eglash states that the nerd stereotype, while yes white and male is “Hardly a portrait of male superiority”. This is backed up in the show as Leonard is “Showed up” by several taller, muscular and more charismatic man that make Penny, Leonards love interest, fall in love with them instead of Leonard, leaving an emphasis on how unimpressive the nerd stereotype is. Throughout the show it is proven time and time again that these stereotypes of nerd culture, no matter how negative are solely for the use of comedy and no other purpose beyond that. The four main characters are all a variant of the nerd stereotype, and many times the female side characters (Who are all, unsurprisingly, girlfriends to the male main characters) contemplate whether or not to actually stick with the main characters due to their horrid stereotypical attitude getting in the way.

The next negative nerd stereotype comes from the film Napoleon Dynamite. This movie was something, something very difficult for me to describe without using many swear words and cursing up a storm. The movies itself is a hour and a half long, almost surreal experience directed by Jared Hess and carries with it what could possibly be one of the worst nerd stereotypes I have seen. The main character, Napoleon Dynamite embodies everything most people generally see in a nerd, drawing alone in class, playing alone on the playground, sassing, insulting, and harassing everyone instead of having decent human conversation and on top of all that making up lies and tall tales to try and look like the cool kid when obviously he isn’t. This is the negative, narcissistic and insulting nerd stereotype that believes he’s better than everyone else but truly has no real way to show it. Almost all of the characters as well are incredibly unlikeable, dull, or embody some other stereotype you can’t help but cringe at them. The only redeemable moment in this movie was when Kip and his online girlfriend (who was played by a african american woman) finally got together, they were a beautiful sweet couple and the only bright spotlight to this surreal dull flick. During this class’s process of annotating the pieces, it helped me better understand how to categorize and file the stereotypes in the movies, and my thoughts on the subject in a more neat and organized fashion, allowing me to better review the movie, it’s negative stereotype and above all give information on it. A key thing that truly irks me about this film is the sense of loneliness the nerd stereotype has, that isolation and lone wolf style of life is not true at all in any facet. Discussed by L. Williams in her piece “Debunking the Nerd Stereotype with Pair Programming” She looks specifically at this sense of how lonely the nerd stereotype looks and how dull it must be when it is not true. Using pair programming she brings two, three or four people together into groups to work on programming projects, she shows her students and herself that the idea of the nerd stereotype and its isolation is a bald faced lie, nerds can connect, group up, and work together with many others to solve large and complex problems just like any other regular human.

However, not all of the stereotypes we will be looking at are incredibly negative. In That 70’s Show, directed by David Trainer and Terry Hughes. The show looks at the later years of highschool for a close knit group of friends. Right off the bat what is a almost welcoming sight to behold is that every single character is not the nerd stereotype. Kelso is the jock, Hydes the cool guy, Jackies the diva, Donna is the strong girl, Fez is the foreign exchange student and finally Eric Forman who is our only nerd stereotype in the entire show and yet even he is a very tame form of this stereotype. Throughout the entire show you are not bombarded and blasted with nerd references of pop culture references and no one is insulting him every day for Erics nerdy likes. Eric does not physically embody the nerd stereotype, the only way you can tell he is a nerd is from the occasional comments and when you see his room, he has comic books, a few figurines and posters in his room. He is a nerd through some light consumerism and enjoys the platform, but it is not shoved in our face at every possible moment and is simply used as a way to describe Erics personality. Every character is a different stereotype and that allows the viewer to make fun of everyone, including possibly themselves so we can all actually have a good laugh from this show. Unlike Big Bang Theory or Napoleon Dynamite that painfully shove the nerd stereotype in your face so they’re the only ones you can laugh at and associate negative connotations to. That’s why this show just feels so much more positive compared to the other two, as stated above with all the other stereotypes everyone has something to laugh at or even at themselves and feels far more inclusive than just using one single stereotype as a comedic slapstick.

To recap, we looked at multiple forms of media in popular culture to take a further look into how the nerd stereotype is used amongst these mediums. Included in this was the Big Bang Theory, Napoleon Dynamite and That 70’s Show. Big Bang Theory showed us the nerd stereotype through four different but heavily similiar variants including anti-social, pious, perverted, and un-masculine stereotypes. From Napoleon Dynamite we got a almost surreal look at the nerd stereotype in a heavily isolated and narcissistic fashion, much like in Big Bang Theory, Napoleon Dynamite was a very pious stereotype along with a heavy mix of anti-social and un-masculine. Finally we had That 70’s Show, the only one of the three shows to make fun of more than just the nerd stereotype, and even its nerd stereotype was subtle and well hidden under character progression and comedy found in all the other stereotypes to have fun with. From this class I learned the fundamentals of looking through and analyzing forms of media, discovering their stereotypes and asking questions. I learned these tactics from the research analysis worksheet and while working on the annotated bibliography. These stereotypes can be a problem, not just for nerds but for anyone, they can create a negative idea or view of a group of people based on race, class, or simply their interests in forms of entertainment such as we’ve seen with nerds. We’ll probably never get rid of stereotypes, but at least we can turn towards making fun of the stereotypes, and educating people to help them better realized this one and all other stereotypes are nothing more than that, a figment and imaginary idea made to simply make fun of others. Once everyone learns this we can better make fun of and actually try and enjoy these stereotypes, just like in That 70’s show, we won’t just be laughing at the nerd, we won’t just be laughing at the foreign guy, we won’t just be laughing at the girl, we will all come together as friends and laugh at ourselves and each other for just how silly we all are.


Works Cited


Kendall, Lori. ““White and Nerdy”: Computers, Race, and the Nerd Stereotype.” KENDALL – 2011 – The Journal of Popular Culture – Wiley Online Library. N.p., 2 June 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.


Williams, Laurie. “Debunking the nerd stereotype with pair programming – IEEE Xplore Document.” Debunking the nerd stereotype with pair programming – IEEE Xplore Document. N.p., 5 May 2006. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.


Napoleon Dynamite, directed by Jared Hess,(2004, ), DVD

Big Bang Theory, directed by Mark Cendrowski, (2007, CBS), TV

That 70’s Show, directed by David Trainer and Terry Hughes, (1998, Fox), TV

Latino Students in the US as seen through Mass Media



  Mass media in this modern age has plagued the lives of consumers to an absurd extent. It is so absurd that it hinders and constructs the way individuals see life. Though the media we consume is often times invited by us, we become oblivious to what we are exposed to and how what we see can become ingrained in our minds. The creators within mass media assert their individual views of others by portraying them in certain ways, often times following the stereotypes pertaining to race, sex, religion, and so on. Stereotypes seen in mass media help develop preconceived notions, which ultimately do more harm than good.

  Nothing brings more pride to me than being Latino, however, as a young Latino student in the US education system, I was left distraught at the thought of being treated as less than. I was always questioning why I had to attend summer school, despite having good behavior and great learning ability. It took a lot of maturing and thinking to realize that I was part of a group full of stigma and stereotypes. It is clear that mass media and pop culture portray Latino students in the US as more problematic and less capable than other students. I am one of those Latino students in the eyes of the mass media.

Where do these stereotypes arise?

  Sadly, the way that I and other Latino students are viewed in mass media can originate from prejudice behavior of educators. In John Benson’s “Lower Expectations And Stereotypes, Biggest Challenges For Latino Students,” Benson highlights a quote from the president of The Education Trust, Kati Haycock, where she notes that “many educators, and frankly many other members of the public, believe that poor kids and Latino kids and African-American kids just aren’t capable of learning to the same levels of other kid.” Haycock learned of this while gaining some insight going around the nation promoting high academic achievement for all students. The predetermined mindset she saw the educator reflect automatically sets Latino students up for failure. By not allowing the students to truly show their capabilities with an open mindset, educators and company succeed in proving the stereotypes they set right. Educators also prevent Latino students from succeeding above expectations by not providing the right challenge. In dialogue with a teacher in North Carolina, Haycock hears that teachers and educators are afraid Latino students would fail if pushed too hard. A decision and appraisal made subjectively by educators without student input, which then reflects in the media.

How are Latino students portrayed?

  The gif from above is from the movie Stand and Deliver. Stand and Deliver is a movie that I have always loved watching as it has an emphasis on Latino students. Stand and Deliver is based on a true story where a Latino teacher in Eastern LA decides to take the role of a math teacher after the original math teacher announced his departure. Taking on a class full of Latino students, the teacher works them up from Math 1A all the way up to Calculus using his creative style as a teacher to encourage their efforts and participation. Again this movie is based on a true story, meaning that what is portrayed on the film may offer different aspects to the story.

  The story this movie presents is incredible and definitely worth watching, but after seeing this movie many times and again now for my research, I see new things. The story about the students making their way all the way up to calculus is great, but the way the students are presented in the journey is different. As seen in the gif above, they are represented as disrespectful, especially in the first encounters of the movie. Along with that, it seems like the narrative of the movie is about a teacher dragging students to success. A typical movie theme. There are also some harsh realities in this film reflected in real life and of course, media. When taking the AP test, the whole class passes, but they are then discredited by The Educational Testing Service. The teacher, Escalante, believes in them so he initiates a test-retake where they pass again. The message that this shows is that there is very little belief in Latino students in the education system and public, but the belief that there is comes from Latinos.

  In a similar fashion, Freedom Writers, also based on a true story, shows some of the same patterns. The teacher, in that case, Erin Gruwell goes through a similar process in guiding her students to success. She goes above and beyond to connect with her students, including Latino students. The Latino students throughout the movie are shown to be very vocal and somewhat aggressive. Another reality expressed in the movie, similar to Stand and Deliver, is the fact that the Latino students along with other minorities are relegated to lower standards of learning. If it weren’t for Erin Gruwell, that would have remained the case.

  Both the movies are fantastic, but they do not depict Latino students for what they really are and the drive they carry. The movies instead romanticize the idea of a teacher doing the unthinkable with unlikable and unteachable students.

Why is this important?

  The stereotypes perpetuated by the mass media affect Latino students in the US by derailing their character and opportunities for success. Latino students then become easy targets for labels that carry stigma. For example, Latino students face disproportionate discipline making them seem like a bad demographic altogether; the labels attached to the disproportionate discipline can then spiral the students into a self-fulling prophecy where they believe and act on the labels they are given (Moreno and Segura-Herrera 40-41). Due to school’s discretion, they are also able to appraise students with having a Specific Learning Disability and Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, which can be abused to relegate Latino students back into their stereotype of less capable to learn (38-39). The influence of the mass media is detrimental to the Latino students.

What is the reality behind Latino Students?

  The reality is that the US has thousands of Latino students, each with special stories that are worth hearing. Gaspar Marcos has a very special one as he immigrated to the US alone after his parents died. He works to provide for himself and attends school on a daily basis, hence the name 19 hours. His teachers recognize his brilliance and hard work, however,  they are well aware that in the eyes of the public and mass media, he is a dangerous kid. I encourage you to watch the video (above) and see how by following him for a day, he dismantles stereotypes.  

  The reality is that Latino students are breaking the stereotypes they are given. Jens Manuel Krogstad gives “5 Facts About Latinos and Education,” focusing on the trends since 1993. The article includes the biggest trends such as the dropout rate for Latino students in high school dropping from 33% to 12%. Krogstad also notes that Latino enrollment in college has increased from 22% to 35% (Krogstad). These statistics exemplify the way Latinos are becoming immersed in the US education system. Another important figure from the article states that in 2014, 66% of Latino students got a job or joined the military to help provide for their families instead of proceeding straight to college right after high school. This indicates that the stereotypes from the mass media are unjust as they ignore the socioeconomic status of Latino students and their families.

Two things I learned:

  Throughout this research and writing, I learned to analyze things objectively. After seeing both the Freedom Writers and Stand and Deliver again for this project, I noticed the way the stories were portrayed to make a teacher heroic and Latino students (amongst other students) a byproduct of the teacher’s success and not their own. A perspective that can be overlooked by two wonderful stories. I additionally learned that within the last five years, more than 100,000 children immigrants have arrived in the US without parents (Caramo). That was something shocking that I learned and means that there are many more stories like Gaspar Marcos out there.


Works Cited

Carcamo, Cindy. “Nearly 1 in 4 students at this L.A. high school migrated from Central America — many without their parents.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Freedom Writers. Dir. Richard LaGravenese. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2007. DVD.

Krogstad, Jens Manuel. “5 facts about Latinos and education.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 28 July 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Moreno, Gerardo, and Theresa Segura-Herrera. “Special Education Referrals and Disciplinary Actions for Latino Students in the United States.” Multicultural Learning and Teaching 9.1 (2013): n. Pag. Web.<;.

Ramos, Zuania. “Lower Expectations And Stereotypes, Biggest Challenges For Latino Students.” The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Stand and Deliver. Dir. Ramón Menéndez. By Ramón Menéndez. Warner Bros., 1988. DVD

19 Hours. Prod. Adam Perez. 19 Hours. LA Times, Summer 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

Human Resources in Flux: How Popular Culture Changes Us



Over the last ten weeks I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the Popular Culture sophomore inquiry class, in which I was given the opportunity to research a part of my identity in the scope of popular culture and to draw meaning from what I found. In this blog post I hope to illustrate my journey, my findings, and what I believe I’ll be taking away from this class.

The Popular Culture Depictions

To start off, let’s talk about the popular culture research I mentioned. The first phase of this research involved consuming media containing portrayals of an aspect of our identity that we chose. I chose to research my identity as an aspiring human resources (HR) professional, though I sought out media containing depictions of current HR professionals. I know it sounds rather niche, but I found a bounty of depictions without much searching at all. The depictions that I selected for my research were Toby Flenderson from The Office, Catbert from Dilbert, and the Bobs from Office Space.


“Why are you the way that you are?” -Michael Scott

Toby Flenderson was a well meaning but unfortunate character who is, also unfortunately, the unofficial mascot of the HR profession. If you do anything involving HR, chances are that you will acquire Toby as a second name and become rather familiar with Michael Scott quotes. In the show, he was repeatedly shot down and isolated from the rest of the office, while also being the all-too-often recipient of bad luck and situations. His life is shown to be not going where he’d like despite all his efforts, and while many of The Office’s characters had a happy ending, Toby gets a narrative about crippling depression and failure to switch career paths. The figurative pity party is always going over at Toby’s house, I realized, and his theme of poor choices aligned perfectly with the classic stereotype of the HR profession.

Catbert, from Scott Adam’s Dilbert, was quite a change in pace from Toby. Catbert, The Evil Director of Human Resources, is a fan favorite. His malevolence knows no bounds, and his playful yet insidiously harmful initiatives are the subject of many of the comics in which he appears. The other characters are shown to have their trust in him and HR betrayed time and time again, as Catbert toys with them to the point of making them question if they’re actually insane.


I found that Catbert represents another bundle of stereotypes that HR professionals face, that is the idea that they’re counterproductive and mad with power.

The Bobs, of Mike Judge’s Office Space, are of a similar flavor to Catbert, though toned down several notches. Interrogative and uncomfortable, the Bobs wield the metaphorical executioner’s axe. They’re called in to facilitate a massive reorganization, in which their work was rather questionable. They promote the main character, Peter, almost immediately after he tells them that he does fifteen minutes of work a day, and they take advantage of an eccentric employee by cutting off his salary without telling him, so as to “avoid conflict”. The Bobs showcase incompetence and misplaced power, more stereotypes of the HR profession.


“What would you say you do here?” -The Bobs

Perhaps you’re noticing the same themes that I did after viewing these depictions. Toby was his show’s punching bag, Catbert was a sadist, and the Bobs were the poster boys of uncomfortable situations. In other words, they were all different flavors of negative, with the overlaps being that they weren’t helpful, weren’t good decision makers, and certainly weren’t well-adjusted. Not a good look for HR professionals. As a solutions oriented person my mind went searching for the cause of this, of which there isn’t a straightforward answer unfortunately.

Digging Deeper: What Do These Show?

However, my curiosity did find some relief when I sought out my secondary research, information that was to be related to my previously acquired popular culture research. The research that I selected to focus on was Jess Bradfield’s article Toby v. Catbert: Perceptions of HR, Stephen Gibb’s paper Evaluating HRM effectiveness: the stereotype connection, and Stefan Stern’s article What is HR Really for?. The common themes that I derived from these articles are that the HR profession is not yet fulfilling the expectations of their stakeholders, has a range of largely negative stereotypes as a result, and is in a state of flux in the pursuit of becoming more effective.

In short, what I discovered about HR professionals from my research is that the field isn’t well regarded due to the negative influence it can have on people’s lives, and that this is reflected in our popular culture. This reputation has been one of the primary motivators for the advancement of the field, which matters because it’s a strong example of how popular culture and popular opinion feed off of each other and influence tangible change.

What do I mean by that? Consider how popular culture is both a reflection of popular opinion and vice versa. Also consider how due to this relationship they hold each other largely stagnant, as those without experience in the subject will have little else to draw their opinion on, continuing the cycle. With this in mind, those who are the subject of a stereotype perpetrated by media find that they must either live under its shadow, or work to change the stereotype itself. When it comes to my research into the portrayals of HR professionals, this is absolutely true for how they’re handling it. Then, as popular opinion slowly but surely shifts, the stereotype will as well.

Taking Action Against Stereotypes

I recognized a similar phenomenon in one of our course readings, that is Hanna Rosin’s article The Evolution of the Doltish Dad. In her article, Rosin examines the portrayal of fathers throughout the history of television in relation to real fatherhood. The stereotype which she primarily focuses on is the “Doltish Dad”, who is an incompetent but well-meaning father who audiences are meant to find comedic and relatable. She goes on to detail the issues that this stereotype creates for the rapidly increasing stay-at-home father demographic, and how some shows and ads are bending the status quo to reflect the change.

This article, I realized after completing my research and pondering it for some time, is a clear example of what I found, and it even helped me to put it into words when I had struggled to do so before. That is, that popular culture and reality push each other to evolve and spark change in each other. It even shows that those who are the subject of the stereotype, the stay-at-home fathers in this case, sparking the change in the same way that I found HR professionals are struggling to do now.

We see this in the article as Rosin recounts how stay-at-home fathers campaigned to change a stereotypical ad, as the ad was harmful due to “…showing a group of football watching dads ignoring their infants as the diapers grew heavy and smelly” (Rosin). Rosin continues recounting, “Huggies pulled the ad and shot a new one. The updated version is arguably equally condescending”, and finishes with, “at least it shows a room full of fathers tenderly rocking their infants instead of neglecting them” (Rosin). While it is a rocky account of progress, it is progress nonetheless.

It was in seeing this and considering it in the context of HR professionals and my research about how they’re struggling to change their own stereotypes through action as well that I made the connection. It was a lovely connection to make as well, as it was a bit of a lightbulb moment in that I then understood why this mattered. It was that it reinforced the fact that popular culture is very much a part of us in that it inspires tangible change, whereas before I was stuck in a mindset that popular culture is akin to a far-off entity, present but not noticeably of our world. After all, we all know that many stereotypes are simply overblown and overdone jokes or just plain not true, so how could it be a part of reality? I found that it was how we acted upon the stereotypes that connected it to us that made it matter, how we real people changed minds and our world based upon what we saw.

The Dream: Why We Care

Oftentimes, as I found in both Rosin’s article and my research about popular culture and HR professionals, it is the subject of the stereotype that will act upon it. They act in order to positively influence or dismantle said stereotype. Why, though? Rather, why care what a character sharing a trait with you in an ad or TV show does? These were questions that I began to ask myself as I considered my own future as a HR professional, with the weight of the stereotypes resting upon my shoulders growing ever more burdensome as I let the negativity and complicated road to improving it stew in my mind. I’ve been aware of the stereotypes for years now, and as I sheepishly soul searched for my future profession and found that the things I wanted could almost all be found within a career in HR, the stereotypes upset me more and more. I couldn’t make myself not care, and could only place anxiety as the reason why.

I’ve found some insight into why I felt, and still do, feel this way in the form of a documentary which we watched in the class, that is John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. In Ways of Seeing, Berger focuses on the imagery and messages of advertisements and connects them as they are now to the elite paintings of centuries ago. It discerns the fact that while they look similar, the paintings of old are a celebration of us as we are, and the ads of today push us to want a better version of ourselves, which he calls “the dream”. The dream is of us being the envy of others, the champion of ourselves and friends, respected and well fulfilled. We can have it all, the ads say, if we buy it.

While in Ways of Seeing the dream is strictly discussed in relation to advertisements, I believe that the dream is present in all forms of media, and even in our institutions. The dream, though manufactured, has permeated us deeply. I believe that my previously mentioned upset is being largely fueled by the dream. I look ahead and want a life in which I have opportunity, passion, and fulfillment. I want a better me. The stereotypes surrounding HR put quite a damper on the dream, and being an exception won’t cut it, as that doesn’t fulfill it. It’s exacerbated by college culture, where all of us are chasing the dream in our own ways. For many, the dream seems straight ahead if you can make it, teaching, nursing, engineering, all well received and loved fields. For me, that road is dark, and pretty poorly paved. In other words, the stereotypes bothered me so much because their existence made me feel like I was throwing away my chance at the dream, which I realized after watching Ways of Seeing. It made sense to me then, when considered with my research, why the subjects of stereotypes throw themselves into dismantling them. It destroys the dream for them.

Moving Forward

I’ve realized many things in this class, and had numerous other things of which I was already familiar reinforced. I learned that popular culture, popular opinion, and tangible change go hand-in-hand from my research and Rosin. I learned about the dream, and that the subject of stereotypes will often be the ones to enact the previously mentioned change to said stereotypes, fueled by visions of the dream lost to them. Most importantly, I learned about myself in the scope of these learnings, and was given insight into myself and how to move forward.

As I transition out of this class, I hope to hold these learnings close, armoring myself with knowledge as I make what may be an uncomfortable transition. I will be able to look upon the stereotypes and understand why they’re there, how they fuel change in my field, and how it is the pursuit of the dream which drives our need to make these changes. I will understand that the dream is constructed, but I’ll be lenient with myself as I grew up with it. Lastly, I hope to be mindful of the profound influence popular culture has on our lives, and to be able to discern future insight from it.

Works Cited

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. BBC Two. Jan. 1972.

Bradfield, Jess. “Toby v. Catbert: Perceptions of HR.” Pulse 16 Jun. 2016, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

Daniels, Greg. The Office. Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille Productions, 2013.

Judge, Mike. Office Space. 20th Century Fox, 1999.

Gibb, Stephen. “Evaluating HRM effectiveness: the stereotype connection.” Employee Relations, Jan.-Feb. 2000, p. 58. AcademicOneFile, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

Rosin, Hannah. “The Evolution of the Doltish Dad”. Slate, 15 Jun 2012.

Scott, Adams. (Comic strip). Andrews McMeel Publishing, 7 Aug 1995, Web.

Stern, Stefan. “What is HR Really for?” Management Today, 1 May 2009, p. 52.AcademicOneFile, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.